NYC schools tested positive for lead paint nearly 50K times in 5 years

Safety inspectors discovered dangerous lead paint in city classrooms more than 38,000 times during the past five years — with almost half the findings in rooms that housed highly vulnerable kids in pre-K, The Post has learned.

Department of Education statistics also show 1,335 positive test results for lead paint in kindergarten classrooms and 284 in play areas, as well as hundreds more in vestibules, hallways and corridors.

Inspectors even found 1,924 violations in kitchens and another 209 in cafeterias, raising the possibility that toxic chips or dust — which can cause brain damage if ingested — contaminated children’s food.

The disturbing data is contained in an internal DOE spreadsheet obtained by The Post under the state Freedom of Information Law ahead of the Sept. 10 reopening of the nation’s largest school system.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials are planning to offer “blended” education in which kids will alternate between classroom and remote learning, but 26 percent of parents have already opted for fully virtual instruction.

The DOE document details the results of 49,314 tests that confirmed the presence of lead paint in 655 schools across all five boroughs from 2015 through 2019.

More than three-quarters of the tests — 38,164 — involved classrooms, with 19,145 positive results found in those used for instruction and another 19,018 from rooms used by Mayor de Blasio’s signature, pre-K program, the spreadsheet shows.

A Post analysis of the data indicates that the results cover about 2,700 classrooms with at least one positive lead test each.

Lawyer Matthew Chachere, who helped draft the city’s 2004 lead paint law, said that “parents very much need to be concerned” about the presence of lead paint in their kids’ schools — and especially if the kids are younger than six years old.

“When the city is finding these kinds of things parents ought to know,” he said.

“Kids need to get tested and find out if they’ve ingested anything.”

Chachere, a staff attorney with the non-profit Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation Legal Services, also said that schools were ironically subject to less scrutiny than landlords when it comes to lead paint.

“Enforcement has always fallen through the cracks,” he said.

“That attitude has always been, ‘Don’t worry about it, we’ll fix it.’ But that hasn’t been the case.”

Manhattan lawyer Reuven Frankel, who specializes in representing victims of lead poisoning, likewise said: “The current system is risky and the risk is a child’s brain development.”

PS 90 Horace Mann in Queens amassed the worst record, with 1,139 positive tests for lead paint, including 892 in classrooms and another 156 in pre-K rooms.

There were also 46 positive tests in bathrooms and another 45 in the school’s kitchen, according to the data.

The DOE claims on its website that it “regularly inspects buildings for peeling paint…because peeling lead-based paint can present a risk of lead exposure, especially for children under age six.”

But the results at PS 90 Horace Mann inexplicably don’t include any positive tests during 2018, which isn’t among the years for which findings there are listed.

Other schools that compiled the greatest number of positive test results for lead paint include two in the Mott Haven section of The Bronx: PS 277, with 884, and PS 43 Jonas Bronck, with 797.

PS 86 The Irvington, in Brooklyn’s Bushwick section, had 591 positive test results and the STAR Academy-PS 63 in Manhattan’s East Village had 535.

081120 PS277 3A081120 PS043NYP - S.T.A.R. Academyschools-lead-poison-ps-86

View Slideshow

Source: Read Full Article