Department of Health Identifies NYC Neighborhoods with Greatest Lead Paint Exposure

Data compiled by the New York City Department of Health has cast new light on the neighborhoods where lead poisoning risks are highest for children.

According to the data, Borough Park and Greenpoint have the highest concentration of children younger than six with elevated blood levels.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin and young children as especially susceptible to its risks. Elevated lead levels in the blood can lead to neurocognitive damage, lowered IQ, hyperactivity disorder, and an increased risk of certain cancers and hypertension.


In total, 4% of young children in Williamsburg have a blood lead level of greater than 5 mcg/dl, a level which peer reviewed studies have determined to be dangerous. Based upon this evidence the United States Centers for Disease Control has determined that such levels are dangerous to the health and safety of children and that action must be taken to remediate the source of such lead levels.  The NYC average is roughly 1.3% of all young children.

In a recent media report, Sam Stern, a political organizer in Williamsburg, said the conditions in the area were a perfect storm for lead contamination. 

“In South Williamsburg you have a concentration of public housing and so many families live there,” Stern said. “The area is heavily industrial. Therefore it was very natural for Williamsburg to have high lead levels. Plus you have a concentration of old housing. So you take everything together and this is what you get. These are the ingredients in the soup.”  In many areas of Williamsburg, industrial buildings have been converted to residential apartments. These old building may be infested with lead based paint despite having been rehabilitated and converted for residential use. Beautiful pre-World War II brownstones are very often filled with leaded surfaces. The danger lurks in old paint that frays or chips from surfaces in apartments and common areas.

Mixed Results on Lead Inspection Activity 

While city officials have promised more vigorous action against lead contamination, results have been mixed. The New York Times called a recent study into lead remediation  issued by the City Comptroller “a scathing report.”

According to that report “the city did not check for lead paint at 9,099 private residential buildings where 11,168 children tested positive for high levels of lead between 2013 and late 2018.” Though the Department of Health gathered the addresses where the children tested positive, it did not share those addresses with the Housing Department’s lead inspection unit.

The report also pointed out that while there have been serious problems with lead remediation in public housing, children in NYC private housing are actually more likely to test positive for elevated lead.

Finding the Right Lead Poisoning Attorney

Lead injury cases are very complex and involve both New York State, New York City and Federal laws. We have been aggressively litigating lead poisoning cases for decades and have been the attorneys of record in precedent setting litigation and have recovered millions of dollars for lead poisoning victims. The Frankel Law Firm has a long and successful track record of vigorously litigating cases for our client’s. We understand the intricacies of lead poisoning cases and seek to obtain fair and just compensation for each of our client’s.

If someone you love has been affected by lead poisoning, contact us today. Call the Frankel Law Firm at (212) 888-5100 or contact us on our website contact at –

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