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Lead Testing, Detection, and Poisoning Prevention in New York

Lead is a heavy metal, and it can build up inside your body, causing major health problems. The issue with lead in the present day comes primarily from lead paint. Lead was added to paint to give it a beautiful white color until late into the 1980’s, so it is best to get your home tested as soon as possible.

What the problem is

In New York, lead can be found in over 13,000 apartments where children under the age of 6 reside. This is just in the year 2017 alone, meaning that over the years, thousands more houses have been found to have lead paint. Violations are fairly common in New York, and not working to solve the issue poses a great risk to the people who live there. 

What the risk is

Lead paint is generally not much of an issue until the paint starts to chip off. This leads to lead dust falling on surfaces, which can then be touched by children, who put their hands or toys in their mouths. This can be a serious hazard, as lead poisoning in children can lead to delayed physical growth as well as mental development.

What the need is

A reduction or removal of lead paint in a must, but there are serious issues regarding the practice of doing so. For instance, removing drywall or paint that contains lead can cause it to become airborne, and land on surfaces where small kids, and even adults, can accidentally ingest it, leading to heavy metal poisoning.

Lead paint testing can become an issue in and of itself. Many companies are barred from doing the tests themselves, due to the possibility of accidentally exacerbating the problem further, and causing lead dust.  Since most lead dust tests require creating the dust in order to sample it, it is not shocking how this can become a serious issue.


What the solution is

Since removing or demolishing the drywall or paint is a poor choice, the other option would be to use Encapsulants, or materials that are placed over the paint as a way to seal in the lead. This works well, as it prevents the lead from chipping and becoming dust in the first place.

Landlords can also do more in fixing the problems of lead exposure in the houses of tenants. With at least 13,000 lead violations in 2017 alone, a lot more can be done by landlords to eradicate the issue once and for all.

What the outcome will be

A lot of work has to be done to prevent lead exposure, especially in younger children. Reducing this exposure using encapsulants and testing for lead by using testing provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is a great way to reduce exposure. With the risk and harm that lead exposure brings, reducing exposure as much as possible is the best bet at countering it.

The following is taken from the New York Health Department's Website

What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing in lead.

Lead is a metal that can harm children and adults when it gets into their bodies. There are many sources of lead. Lead can be found in dust, air, water, soil, and in some products used in and around our homes.

Lead can harm a young child's growth, behavior, and ability to learn. Children under six years old are more likely to get lead poisoning than any other age group. Most often, children get lead poisoning from breathing in or swallowing dust from old lead paint that gets on floors and windowsills, hands and toys. Lead can also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy.

Although lead poisoning is preventable, lead continues to be a major cause of poisoning among children. Thousands of children are still at risk. Find out how you can protect the children in your life.

Adults can also get lead poisoning, especially through contact with lead in certain jobs or hobbies or when disturbing lead paint through renovation or remodeling activities.

How can you know if a person has lead poisoning?

The most common test for lead is a blood test. It measures how much lead is in your bloodstream. A person with lead poisoning usually does not look or feel sick.

Because children continue to be at risk, New York State requires health care providers to test all children for lead with a blood lead test at age 1 year and again at age 2 years. At every well-child visit up to age six, health care providers must ask parents about any contact their child might have had with lead. If there's been a chance of contact, providers are required to test for lead again. Parents can ask their child's doctor or nurse if their child should get a lead test, and what the lead test results mean.

What is New York State doing to end childhood lead poisoning?

Great progress has been made, but lead is still a threat to many children. The Department of Health has strong programs, plans and laws working to prevent childhood lead poisoning statewide. These programs also help those children who have lead poisoning. The Advisory Council on Lead Poisoning Prevention provides guidance to the Department of Health concerning development of these programs, plans, and laws.

In June, 2009, Governor Paterson issued Executive Order No. 21 to establish the Governor's Task Force on the Prevention of Childhood Lead Poisoning. The Task Force is composed of state agency representatives. Its purpose is to reduce childhood lead poisoning through increased inter-agency collaboration and coordination.

For more information about the dangers of Lead Poisoning, you can visit the New York Health Department's Website and for more information on getting your home tested for the presence of lead, contact Five Star Environmental or visit our dedicated Lead Testing Page.