MEDICAL SOCIETY of the STATE OF NEW YORK
|Elizabeth Dears, Esq.
Senior Vice President/
Chief Legislative Counsel
|Division of Governmental Affairs
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
|CLICK HERE FOR BILL STATUS
||AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to
requiring the commissioner of health to act when areas of
lead poisoning are designated
This bill amends the Public Health Law and would require the commissioner of health to take action whenever an area of high lead risk is designated due to lead-based paint. The Medical Society of the State of New York supports this measure.
Currently, New York State law leaves it up to the commissioner’s discretion whether to provide written notice to the owner of the property to abate the paint condition. It also gives discretionary authority to the commissioner to hold a hearing if the condition is not abated. This bill strengthens the existing law by requiring that written notice be given and that a hearing be held
if there is a violation of the notice.
Lead is a highly toxic metal that produces a range of adverse effects particularly in young children. Children are most often poisoned by lead that comes from old lead-based paint.
Although lead-based paint has been banned for residential use since 1960 in New York City and since 1978 in the rest of New York State, most older housing has at least some old layers of lead paint. The most common cause of lead poisoning in young children is by ingesting house dust that is contaminated with lead from lead paint. If the paint is in poor condition, chipping, peeling, and flaking it can be ground into dust and inhaled by young children. Also, lead-contaminated dust gets on the children’s toys and then into their mouths.
Exposure to excessive levels of lead can cause brain damage, affect a child’s kidneys, impair hearing, and cause vomiting, headaches, and appetite loss. Additionally, it can cause learning and behavioral problems in children. Increased lead levels in adults can increase blood pressure, digestive problems, kidney damage, nerve disorders, sleep problems, muscle and joint pain, and mood changes. Children, however, are more vulnerable to lead exposure than adults since lead is more easily absorbed into growing bodies. In addition, young children’s tissues are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
For all the reasons stated above, the Medical Society of the State of New York urges enactment of this measure.
ELIZABETH DEARS, ESQ
3/07/13 - Support
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