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Study: Paint flakes from 7-train stations contain dangerous levels of lead, pols call on MTA to rectify it

April 12, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Flakes of paint that are falling off some of the 7 train stations along Roosevelt Avenue contain 50-times the amount of allowable lead, according to union officials.

The District Council 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades took samples of the paint in February and found that the paint flakes showed lead levels at 244,000 parts per million, 48 times the threshold of 5,000 parts per million when lead abatement is typically required.

“Not only are these toxic paint chips falling onto the communities below, but what’s seeping into the soil could have effects for years to come,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm in a statement. “Forty-eight times the levels that would require lead abatement is cause for a public health crisis.”

A representative from District Council 9 pointed out that the paint chips are falling on to heavily populated areas, including schools and parks, which could lead to serious health issues within the community.

“The dilapidated 7 line servicing our Queens communities have long been an eyesore, but now we know that they’re also a serious health hazard.  The leaded paint chips is shedding over heavily populated streets like Roosevelt. Even more concerning is how extremely dangerous lead exposure is for children, and how much students rely on the 7 line to get to and from school,” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya in a statement, calling for a study of lead-related health issues in the community.

An MTA spokesperson said that it periodically inspects, scrapes and repaints all train structures, but did not answer questions specific to the 7 train or District Council 9’s findings. She also did not say when the 7 train structures were last scraped and repainted or when they were due for another update.

Moya, however, called on the City and MTA to propose a plan to scrape, prime and repaint the structures immediately in response to the study.

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how come Danny Dromm isn’t getting involved with this — this includes his district also –


I’ve driven under the elevated structures of most of the subway lines around the city. The #7 in Woodside, Jackson Hts, Elmhurst and western Corona is by far, the worst looking el. They painted the area from 111 St to Flushing only so it doesn’t look like an eyesore for CitiField and the annual US Open Tennis matches. I guess us regular folk don’t count. The reason for the high lead content is that the newer non-lead based paint applied 30 years ago has worn away and now the cracks in the older layers have allowed water to seep in and rust the steel underneath. In many places, the curled, peeling paint reveals gray bare metal which turns rust orange and red within a month. The entire el needs to be totally stripped, sandblasted to bare metal, structural weakenings caused by rust and corrosion fixed and immediately primed and painted. The Astoria and Jamaica el’s were done this way less than 5 years ago. Why was the #7 ignored? It looked far worse 5 years ago than the Astoria and Jamaica else ever did. Now it’s a disaster waiting to happen. All that money spent on new signals will be for naught if the el structurally fails and has to be closed for emergency repairs that could take weeks and months, never mind a potential wreck if a beam fails and misaligns the track.


Nope. It’s great for the Painters’ Union, because they will be able to charge ridonculous amounts of OT. You think the signal work is holding up the 7 train? Wait till they have to bag the whole thing in plastic.


If they care, this structure should have regular maintenance, the last time was painted was about 30 years ago


You’re not being fair to the MTA, they started that paint job 30 years ago. Much like the signal replacement the job is ongoing. It should be done no later than 2025.

Maritza Aguilera

Its about mother f’in time they repaint these stations. There is a lot of rust underneath the tracks too. I would hate to think that it could potentialy collapse. I dont want my daughter riding this train or walking on Roosevelt Avenue for that matter!


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