The five boroughs of New York are full of beautiful – and old – apartment buildings. These buildings may contain toxic lead paint, if constructed before the lead paint ban in the late 1970s. The health reasons for the ban were clear:
Long-term exposure to lead results in developmental delays
Speech and language problems
Damage to the nervous system and other internal organs
Because lead-based exposure and contamination is typically found in young children, there are strict laws governing the renting of apartments to families with small children.
In 1992, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development enacted the lead paint hazard reduction law. The law outlines what landlords can and cannot do before renting an apartment. It’s a dense piece of legalese, requiring the help of a knowledgeable attorney to navigate.
If you and your young family suspect something about the paint in the apartment, or if your child begins to exhibit changes in behavior, please don’t delay. Get your child to a doctor for testing. Collect samples of any chipping or peeling paint. And contact an attorney. Again, lead poisoning can cause developmental delays in young children, so hesitation can mean disaster.