Syracuse considering legislation to fight lead poisoning

Jan 3, 2019

The city of Syracuse is considering legislation that would continue to fight the city's lead poisoning crisis, now that the federal government is once again providing funding for lead abatement programs in the city.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently restored $4.5 million to the city to address lead hazards in 230 housing units. Stephanie Pasquale, Syracuse's Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development, said this will go a long way in abating the dangerous lead paint that lurks in many of the city’s properties that are home to low income families. 

She said the city is looking for further ways to address the issue, like developing legislation.

"Allowing for our code enforcement team to cite for lead based paint hazards. Right now it’s not in New York State building code," said Pasquale. "If this legislation passes, it would allow us to conduct just right paint testing especially in areas where we know there is a high risk."

Pasquale said the city would work with landlords to find ways to remediate the lead.

“We would work with the owner," she said. "We can provide resources for who qualified contractors are. There are training that we can hold, so you can actually do the work yourself. It's called RRP training. There are a lot that other communities are doing that we would love to implement to make sure that it's affordable, and it's just the right thing to do.”

She expects a proposal to come to the city's Common Council sometime in 2019. Syracuse struggles with lead paint issues, because 90 percent of its housing stock was built before the federal government banned lead paint in 1978. Most of the lead paint lingers in doors and windows.

High levels of lead in children can cause anything from learning disabilities to hyperactivity.