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§27-2056.1 Statement of Findings and Purposes
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The council finds that lead poisoning from paint containing lead is a preventable childhood disease and a public health crisis. The council further finds that the hazard in dwellings that may occur from paint containing lead is subject to many factors, such as the age of a building and its maintenance. The Council also finds and declares that City government must focus on primary prevention as the essential tool to combat childhood lead poisoning and to achieve the goal of preventing children from suffering the adverse health and other effects of exposure to lead-based paint. The pursuit of primary prevention, which means eliminating lead hazards before children are exposed, has been recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and promoted by leading experts in the field as a critical course of action to protect the health of young children. The Council, therefore, declares that resources must be directed to primary prevention, including identifying children who are most at risk. The council recognizes that it cannot legislate a single maintenance standard for all dwellings to eliminate this hazard. Instead, the council by enacting this article makes it the responsibility of every owner of a multiple dwelling to investigate dwelling units for lead-based paint hazards and to address such hazards on a case-by-case basis as the conditions may warrant, taking such actions as are necessary to prevent a child from becoming lead poisoned. Having established this responsibility, the council finds that sufficient information exists to guide owners in making determinations about the existence of lead-based paint hazards. See, e.g., United States environmental protection agency, "Identification of Dangerous Levels of Lead; Final Rule" Federal Register, Vol. 66, No. 4 ( January 5, 2001); United States department of housing and urban development, "Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing" (June 1995, revised 1997). The New York city department of health and mental hygiene has reported for the year 2001 that among children tested, 5,638 were newly identified with elevated blood lead levels of 10 micrograms per deciliter or above. The New York city department of health and mental hygiene has reported for the year 2001 that among children tested, 653 were newly identified at or above the department's environmental intervention blood lead level, which is a blood lead level equal to or exceeding 20 micrograms per deciliter in a single test or two reported blood lead levels between 15 and 19 micrograms per deciliter at least three months apart, and has also reported an overall incidence of 931 children tested with blood lead levels equal to or exceeding 20 micrograms per deciliter. When a child is identified with environmental intervention blood lead levels, the city is obligated to investigate potential sources of the lead poisoning, incurring the expense of an environmental investigation and often times also incurring the expense of medical treatment and remedial education, if necessary. The council finds that these blood lead levels among New York city children constitute a severe health crisis and has established as its goal the elimination of childhood lead poisoning by the year 2010. In addition, the department of health and mental hygiene has reported for the year 2001 that only 29% of children in New York city are tested both at age one and age two for the disease of lead poisoning even though the testing of all children at age one and age two is mandatory under state law. The council finds that improved screening among these children is critical since children at these ages are at greatest risk for lead poisoning. The council declares that it is reasonable and necessary to increase the rate of blood-lead testing. This local law requires the department of health and mental hygiene to report to the council on progress toward increasing screening rates and reducing the incidence rates of children newly identified with elevated blood lead levels. The council further finds that the administration and enforcement of the City's lead poisoning prevention programs can be better coordinated. While it is intended that the department of housing preservation and development remain the agency responsible for the implementation and enforcement of this article, it is also intended that the department of health and mental hygiene shall have a significant role in the promulgation and interpretation of rules and in the development of necessary procedures pursuant to this article.