New York City has recently introduced new laws regarding lead-based paint. The main objective was to close loopholes that endanger children and increase protection for pregnant women and the general public from lead poisoning.

NEW YORK, NY, May 17, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — The most significant change is that XRF lead paint inspections are now required for all units: Local Law 31 of 2020 – effective August 9, 2020.

What is the law regarding lead-based paint testing in New York?
Residential buildings built before 1960 are presumed to have lead-based paint present until proven otherwise. By law, all of these buildings MUST have an XRF test carried out by a qualified inspector before 2025 or before it is sold/transferred/turned over.

Note: Those who had a lead test prior to December 1, 2021 may need to be retested as the definition of lead-based paint has changed.

Who needs to have an XRF lead inspection?
All residential properties who meet the following criteria:
• The building was built before January 1, 1960;
• The building has tenant-occupied rental apartments; and
• A child under the age of six resides* in the dwelling unit.
*Resides means to routinely spend 10 or more hours per week in a dwelling unit, which includes both a child who lives in the apartment and a child who just visits for this period of time.

In addition, starting December 1, 2021, any unit that has been granted an exemption under the action level of 1.0 mg/cm² loses that exemption status at the first turnover of that unit and must perform the turnover requirements as well as report that turnover to HPD for revocation of the exemption. The owner would be required to submit a new exemption application for the unit and be granted a new “Lead Free” Exemption status based on testing conduced with an XRF machine that is set to the action level of 0.5 mg/cm²

Who can carry out an XRF lead paint test?
The inspection may only be conducted by a third-party EPA-certified Inspector or Risk Assessor. It must also include a strict inspection protocol and a detailed report to determine whether lead paint is present.

Recent updates to the Law on Lead Based Paint:
Updated February 11, 2021, These new lead paint rules also apply to smaller landlords and vacation rental owners, unlike in previous years. Per Local Law 29 of 2020, the definition of buildings with “multiple dwellings” now includes one and two-family house rentals except the units occupied by the owners’ family.

On December 1, 2020, in compliance with Local Law 66 of 2019 and the rules adopted by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the definition of lead-based paint will be amended to be defined as paint that has a lead content measured at 0.5 mg/cm2 or greater as determined by laboratory analysis or an XRF instrument with an approved PCS and programmed at a testing action level of 0.5 mg/cm2.

What does this mean for residential building owners in NYC?
– All Residential Building Owners in New York City have until August 9, 2025, to have their apartments inspected for lead paint. All surfaces in every unit must be tested. Those include all walls, ceilings, baseboards, windows, window frames, window sills, closets, cabinets, shelves…

The change impacts all requirements under Local Law 1, including but not limited to:
The issuance of HPD violations for lead-based paint hazards
Compliance with requirements applicable on the turnover of units
Compliance with the requirement to complete XRF testing in all units subject to Local Law 1 by 2025
Lead-based paint exemptions issued by HPD
The inspection may only be conducted by a third-party EPA-certified Inspector or Risk Assessor. It must also include a strict inspection protocol and a detailed report to determine whether lead paint is present. MKM Environmental is certified by EPA to perform those inspections.

ADDITIONALLY, Local Law 28 of 2020 gives more authority to HPD in terms of violations and requirements to remediate lead hazards when a unit turns over. If a building owner is unable to provide a record of having completed the required lead hazard remediation at turnover, it is assumed that the owner violated the relevant provisions.

What is Lead?
Lead is a natural element available in small quantities in the uppermost crust of the earth. Although it is beneficial to us in many ways, it is hazardous to animals and human beings.

Where is Lead Found?
You can find lead almost everywhere in the environment, not just in water and soil but also in the air we breathe and right inside your homes. Maximum exposure to lead occurs from human activities involving fossil fuels, gasoline, paints, and specific industrial applications. We use the lead element and its compounds in our daily lives in a wide range of products like paint, batteries, cosmetics, ceramic, plumbing pipes, soldering, ammunition, etc.

Lead can spread to our environment through our previous and existing uses. Industrial sites and old contaminated lead smelters can also contribute to it. Although the natural level of lead in soil is 50-400 PPM (Parts Per Million), industrial activities of mining, smelting, and refining can substantially increase the level. That is why the lead level is quite high near such industrial locations.

The industrial sources and vehicles emit lead into the air, flying to far-flung places before settling down. These lead elements quickly stick to soil particles and find their way into groundwater according to the lead type and soil features. Government regulations have aided in lowering the lead level in our environment, mostly in our drinking water, air, soil, and food products.

EPA-Certified Inspectors carry out an on-site risk assessment and inspection to determine the lead presence and consequent risks. The investigation includes the determination of type, location, and severity of lead. The evaluation also examines lead hazards in paint, dust, and soil. Only certified risk assessors can legally conduct such an assessment. The assessment of paint hazards is quite useful in finding out the existing exposure sources and the best possible solutions. There is also a possibility to conduct an inspection and risk assessment jointly.

Who is at Risk?
Children: Children are vulnerable to the dangerous effects of lead because they absorb higher amounts of lead elements than adults. They are at a higher risk since their brain and nervous systems are more sensitive to lead. Infants and young kids have an increased risk of exposure since they usually put their hands or toys into their mouths. It leads to the quick transfer of lead elements from dust or soil to their mouths.

Children can get exposure to lead through some of the following ways:
• They Consume food items or water and use utensils, toys, glasses, or any other items containing lead.
• They may inhale lead dust from paint or soil having lead contamination.
• Even some toys with lead paints are responsible for a high degree of exposure and consequent risk.
Adults, Including Pregnant Women: Adults can get exposure to lead in one of the following ways:
• By consuming food or drinking water from contaminated glasses or dishes
• By Breathing dust in areas where the paint is in a deterioration stage
• During renovation or repair of painted surfaces of old buildings
• When engaged in the hobby of stained glass painting
• Working on sites where people use lead in the course of their jobs

It is a matter of concern for pregnant women because if they get exposure to lead in any of the above ways, it indirectly causes lead exposure to the growing baby inside her.

Why Should You Opt For Inspection Or Risk Assessment For Your Home?
1. Your child has suffered from lead poisoning. Lead-based paint and lead dust are the most common home-based sources of exposure to lead.
2. Your children live or plan to live in an old house with a construction period before 1978.
3. You are going to repair or renovate any area which will disturb existing lead-based paint surfaces. The dust and small chips containing lead-based paint can cause lead exposure for you and your family.
4. You want to rent or purchase a home. The government regulations stipulate that the purchaser is free to inspect to ascertain if the house has any hazards of lead-based paints, especially when you have young kids living or planning to live in the said house property. You need to be aware of your rights before purchasing a home for your loved ones.
5. You care for potential lead exposure to your family members, pets, and even visitors.

Source 1: MKM Environmental – EPA Certified Lead Paint Inspectors, New York.
Source 2: NYC Housing and Preservation

4512 46th St, 327, Sunnyside, NY 11104
[email protected]

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