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Last week, the Health Department revealed that since 2012, over 1,000 children living in New York City public housing have tested positive for lead poisoning. The DOH stated that while the rate of pediatric lead poisoning within private housing has declined, the rate within public housing has remained static.

In light of the DOH’s recent findings, it is important for New Yorkers—especially New Yorkers who have lived in public housing—to recognize the signs of lead paint poisoning in children.

What are the signs of lead poisoning in children?

Exposure to lead paint, even in the short-term, can cause numerous health issues. While these symptoms are not always apparent—some can take weeks, or even years, to develop—it is important to proactively watch for them in your children. Symptoms of lead paint poisoning include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Behavioral issues
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Seizures

What to do if you suspect lead paint exposure

This is not the first lead poisoning controversy for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). In 2017, the Department of Investigation discovered that the NYCHA skipped numerous mandatory lead inspections, then falsified documents to hide their neglect. If you and your children have lived in public housing and you believe that they were exposed to lead, you should immediately take your child to a doctor. Express your concerns, and request that they examine your child’s lead levels. Your doctor will then prescribe a course of treatment.

Some families whose children experience lead poisoning in public housing facilities also choose to pursue legal action. Filing a lawsuit is a way for families to receive compensation for their children’s medical bills and other damages. A lawsuit is also a way to hold the neglectful party accountable for their actions.