New York City Mayor Eric Adams released a report emphasizing the impacts of lead exposure as well as the city’s efforts to combat the hazards caused by the toxic metal.
The report, “Taking the Lead on Lead” provides an update to NYC’s fight against childhood lead exposure, with the new information coming from every city agency with lead-related compliance mandates.
“Keeping New Yorkers and their families safe is the most important work we do as a city, and that work includes protecting our children from the dangers of lead exposure and lead poisoning,” said Mayor Adams in a statement April 25. “Thanks to these efforts and the intensive work of our city agencies, lead exposure in children has been reduced by 93 percent since 2005, but there is still more work to be done. We have made great strides in public health and safety, and we will continue to work hard toward our goal of a lead-free New York City.”
serves as an additional resource to mitigate and monitor lead exposure following the establishment of “LeadFreeNYC” in 2019 which served as the initial city roadmap to eliminating lead exposure especially in children.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) lead poisoning occurs when an individual inhales or otherwise consumes microscopic particles of the metal. Lead particles are generated by burning the metal during industrial processes like smelting or recycling.
Lead was also commonly used in paint in residential buildings until the late 1970s, which is how many people in NYC were and continue to be exposed to the toxin.
In addition to the new data from the report, Mayor Adams also appointed Jasmine Blake to serve as the city’s new lead compliance officer where she will continue to monitor different city agencies’ lead compliance and interagency communication and coordination.
“New York City has always been at the forefront of fighting childhood lead exposure, and this latest report demonstrates our commitment to furthering this work,” said Blake. “Under this new position, we will be able to improve interagency communication, strengthen our lead-related programs, and monitor compliance with city, state, and federal laws to better protect all New Yorkers.”
Blake previously served as spokesperson to former New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) director Shola Olatoye who in 2018 falsely swore in a NYC council testimony that 4,200 NYCHA employees received special training in inspecting public housing buildings for lead paint, when in fact the Department of Investigations found that over 85% of NYCHA workers had not received training.
Blake said at the time that Olatoye “was truthful and relied on the facts provided to her. She was told staff had been trained.”
The report was heralded by numerous city agencies and health experts, who said the dedication to preventing lead poisoning and exposure would help keep generations of New Yorkers healthier.
“Research has shown that for every dollar spent on lead prevention, up to hundreds of dollars are saved in future costs,” New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said. “The work we do to screen for lead in children — as well as to investigate, mitigate and enforce against hazardous conditions — benefits children, families and communities throughout their lifetimes. This is public health at its best, and the administration’s continued leadership in this field will keep our city at the forefront of lead prevention and protect future generations of New Yorkers.”