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Press Releases

Starting Monday, New York City to Offer Free Lead Testing for 3,000 NYCHA Children

Tenants will be notified about service with letters and phone calls; City also providing a hotline to schedule appointments

Residents can make an appointment at any NYC Health + Hospital location across the five boroughs

Dec 15, 2017

New York, NY

The New York City Housing Authority and NYC Health + Hospitals announced that starting on Monday, December 18th, the City will offer free blood lead level testing for the nearly 3,000 children ages 6 months to 8 years who live in more than 2,300 NYCHA apartment units that were painted in 2016 by workers without proper certification. While the risk of significant exposure from this work remains low, out of an abundance of caution, the City is offering free testing to children aged 6 months to 8 years old due to normal behavior that can result in ingestion of lead dust. Tenants in these 2,300 apartments will receive a letter under their door and phone calls with more information about how to schedule an appointment at any NYC Health + Hospital location across the five boroughs by using the City’s dedicated hotline.

“Resident safety is our top priority,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “We want to make sure families know about this free testing to address any concerns and provide peace of mind.”

“New York City has made great strides to reduce lead poisoning among children by working in partnership with families, health care providers and building owners,” said NYC Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett. “This free testing program will provide families in public housing the opportunity to learn more about their children’s health. As always, we ask that all parents with concerns about the health of their children speak with their pediatrician.”

“The health effects of exposure to lead are best managed early, so concerned parents are encouraged to take advantage of this free testing,” said Machelle Allen, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “If high lead levels are detected, follow-up is available. And we provide care to all, regardless of ability to pay.

Parents or guardians with children living in these 2,300 apartments can request a free blood level test by calling the dedicated hotline. Parents and guardians will need to bring their photo ID and will need to sign a form permitting their child to be tested as well as release of information. Any child with an elevated lead result will be connected to care.

Lead poisoning in New York City is at historic lows, and the number of children in NYC with lead poisoning has declined 69 percent since 2005. Residents concerned about their home or their children can learn more about the health effects of lead-based paint exposure by visiting DOHMH’s Lead Poisoning Prevention page at nyc.gov/lead. Residents can also call NYCHA’s Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771 with questions about the Authority’s program to remediate potential lead-based paint hazards.