Posted by Anna on June 28, 1999 at 22:50:38:
Remember chain letters? Please start one now: copy this message (or any of the lead-paint notices on this board or on Tenant.net), send it to ten friends; ask them to send it to ten friends. Send it tonight or early tomorrow am to the NYC council member(s) of your choice or to all of them! It takes a village to raise a child: you live in this village.
email addresses of the New York City Council: http://www.council.nyc.ny.us/council/emailadr.htm
use the telephone or fax numbers in NYCOSH's message:
Vol. IV, No. 11
Monday, June 28, 1999
A fax update from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and
URGENT! URGENT! --- LEAD POISONING ALERT
Wednesday, June 30, the New York City Council is scheduled to vote
on legislation which will pose a serious threat to the health of children
and workers. I am writing to ask that you fax and call members of the City
Council today and/or tomorrow and demand that they vote against the
so-called "Childhood Lead Prevention Act." A model letter and talking
points are enclosed. Also you will find a list of Councilmembers who need
to be contacted and their phone and fax numbers.
The enactment of this bill will increase - not reduce - lead
poisoning among the children of this city particularly children of
immigrants, low-wage workers and people of color. More children are likely
to become lead poisoned if this bill passes because it allows landlords 21
days after receiving a lead paint hazard violation from the City in which
they can ignore the existing Department of Health safety regulations for
lead paint abatement. These regulations set clean-up standards for
controlling toxic lead dust and chips while removing peeling paint. If
these safety regulations are ignored children will become poisoned and
workers will be exposed to hazardous levels of lead dust.
Exposure of children to lead dust can cause permanent brain
injuries, loss of intelligence, learning disabilities or behavioral
disorders. Recent research has clearly demonstrated that exposure of
children to even minute amounts of lead dust can lead to permanent damage
to a child's mental development. Workers doing lead paint clean up are
also at risk for serious health problems resulting from exposure to lead
The proposed law also does not require basic training in lead
safety for workers performing paint repair and does not prescribe safe work
practices. Except in extremely limited circumstances, the bill fails to
require landlords to perform clearance testing when the repair work is
finished and it does not require that the test be performed by an
independent third party. This testing is needed to ensure that the
apartment has not been contaminated by lead dust. Furthermore, the bill
drastically circumscribes the rights of lead poisoned children to sue the
landlords who are responsible for the hazardous condition, and shifts the
burden for reporting lead hazards onto tenants.
The proposed legislation must be defeated unless it is amended to
include the following points:
- Work which disturbs lead-based paint should be immediately subject
to the requirements of section 173.14 of the New York City Health Code,
"Safety standards for lead-based paint abatement."
- "Prep work," which has been documented to generate extremely high
lead levels, should be subject to safety regulations.
- Require training in lead safety for all workers doing paint repair
in pre-1960 buildings.
- Require clearance tests, conducted by an independent third party,
to confirm that the work has been done safely. This is necessary because
lead-contaminated dust can be invisible to the naked eye. Consequently,
all references to "visual" inspections for dust should be deleted.
- Landlords should be required to maintain specific records regarding
the abatement dates, location, description, methods and contractors.
- Provision must be made for the Department of Health to rigorously
enforce the law and stringent penalties should be levied against landlords
who fail to comply with all sections of the law.
- Nothing in the bill should impinge upon the rights of a
lead-poisoned child to sue his/her landlord or the City, either in its
role as regulator or as owner.
There are many other problems with this bill which limit the
responsibilities of landlords to provide tenants with lead-safe housing.
This bill bends so far to protect landlords at the expense of tenants and
lead-poisoned children that New York City Councilmember Stanley Michels,
Chairman of the City Council's Environmental Protection Committee, has
called this bill the "Landlord Protection Act."
Exposure to lead is one of the oldest occupational hazards. Like
other occupational and environmental hazards it is preventable. Failure to
prevent exposure to this hazard will subject our city's children to
serious health consequences which will dramatically reduce the quality of
their lives and place a burden on the social and financial resources of our
City by requiring special educational programs, additional social and
psychological services as well as increased welfare costs.
Action is needed today if the bill is to be stopped. Thank you for
your consideration and prompt attention to this matter.
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