May 3, By Jason Cohen
Paint chips containing dangerous levels of lead have been falling from some of the elevated 7 train lines and two state legislators are looking to pass legislation requiring that the elevated lines city wide be examined for health risks.
The elevated 7 train, which just celebrated its 100-year anniversary serving Queens, hasn’t been repainted in more than three decades and now lead paint is chipping off.
A recent report by the District Council 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades revealed that paint chips falling from the 52nd Street 7 train station were found to contain lead amounts of 244,000 parts per million, which is equivalent to about 50 times in excess of the legal requirements for lead.
On Monday, State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) introduced legislation that would require the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the New York City Transit Authority to examine the levels of lead paint at elevated subway tracks and stations throughout the city.
The measure also mandates that the study be conducted in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health, which will determine the degree to which the MTA complies with the federal Clean Air Act.
Under their proposal, the MTA would submit a report with recommendations to eliminate any possible exposure to lead by falling paint chips.
The MTA would present the findings to the governor, mayor, the temporary president of the state senate and the speaker of the assembly. The study would “review past renovations to stations to determine the amount of lead paint abatement.”
“I am pleased to announce this legislation with my colleague Senator Peralta so that we can have a better picture of the steps that have and will be taken to remove dangerous lead paint from our communities,” Dinowitz said in a statement.
Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) shares his colleagues’ sentiments. Dromm noted that he first identified the issues with lead paint and the 7 train several years ago.
“If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that we can’t trust the MTA,” Dromm said, referring to the state agency.
However, Dromm had his doubts as to the effectiveness of the proposed legislation.
“If the state legislature can’t force the MTA to correct the situation and keep New Yorkers safe, no study can. It’s time we start the process of returning NYC Transit to city control.”