State behind curve on lead poisoning

New York State is failing to keep up with at least two federal initiatives aimed at combating lead poisoning in children, a particular problem in Buffalo.

The state has failed to adopt federal standards that would improve lead abatement practices, resulting in a near absence of enforcement actions to discourage shoddy workmanship. New York officials have also failed to adopt a more stringent federal standard for what constitutes a concerning level of lead in blood tests that would trigger medical intervention.

While New York as a whole lags in dealing with its lead problem, the effort in Buffalo is especially ineffective, said Andrew McLellan, a member of the state’s lead poisoning prevention task force.

“Buffalo lags behind really all the other communities in the state,” said McLellan, president of two Buffalo-based companies that train contractors and inspect properties for lead contamination.