Health risks found in over 80 percent of NYCHA apartments


Health risks found in over 80 percent of NYCHA apartments

Philip Guelpa

17 April 2018

A recently released report documents a fact that more than 400,000 residents of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing complexes already know only too well—conditions in the great majority of apartments endanger the health of their occupants. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) examined a sample of 255 apartments distributed across 23 developments. Of these, 212, over 83 percent, were found to have “at least one severe condition” that “could pose a health hazard.”

Among the conditions observed were peeling paint, mold, damaged plaster, rodents, insects, inoperable appliances and malfunctioning smoke detectors. Sixteen units had “severe” electrical hazards, and 15 had no heat. In addition, three quarters of the 64 common areas that were inspected had at least one health hazard. For years, NYCHA tenants have complained that they often have to wait months or even years for repairs, which are sometimes of a purely cosmetic nature.

This report follows two scandalous situations that made headlines in recent months. The first was the revelation that NYCHA officials had for years suspended legally mandated inspections for lead paint and then covered up this failure in official reports, prompting legal action by the federal government. Compounding the problem, the city recently announced that new testing of a sample of apartments has now revealed high lead levels in complexes that had previously been exempted from annual lead paint inspections based on a survey conducted in the 1990s, indicating that the potential for lead poisoning, especially of children, is even more widespread than previously thought.

The second incident was the widespread loss of…

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