Assemblyman Ryan Introduces Lead Act

Legislation will combat lead poisoning statewide

Mike Baggerman
June 01, 2017 - 2:29 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Assemblyman Sean Ryan introduced the Lead Act, a package of legislation which will combat lead exposure and poisoning across all of New York State.

The legislation would amend the definition of "elevated lead levels" according to the assemblyman. Currently, New York State's recommended Blood Level Level (BLL) for young children is ten micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood. If children exceed the BLL, there will be an environment and educational intervention. The Lead Act would cut the BLL in half. 

According to an article by the Investigative Post in 2014, young children in Erie County were testing positive for lead poisoning at more than triple the state average. 

"Buffalo and Erie County have the distinction of having a lot of older housing stocks that are poorly maintained," Ryan said at a press conference on Buffalo's West Side on Thursday. "Those are the two elements that come together to cause childhood lead poisoning."

Ryan said that lead poisoning occurs most frequently in young children as a result of eating paint chips and when children placing their mouths on window sills.

"While lead paint was taken off the market in 1978, there are still hundreds of thousands of homes in New York State and in Buffalo and Erie County that have lead paint in them," he said.

Lead affects children by damaging their central nervous system. It can cause behavioral and learning disabilities, growth irregularities, developmental delays, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and functioning of blood cells. 

In adults, lead can cause hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Extreme levels can cause seizures, comas, and even death.

The legislation also includes protection for renters exposed to lead by providing liability coverage for treatment of lead exposure. It will also expand lead testing in the water to day care facilities and ban lead in children's jewelry that is sold at grocery and dollar store vending machines. 

LISTEN: Assemblyman Sean Ryan Press Conference on lead poisoning legislation

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