Tag: Lead poisoning

Jan 27

2021

Progress, at last, addressing lead poisoning

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For years, City Hall dallied in the face of  a lead poisoning epidemic among children in Buffalo’s poorest neighborhoods. City officials have finally put in place a plan being praised as a “huge step forward.” Most importantly, ordinance updates approved by the Common Council in November give inspectors, for the first time, the right to test the interiors of apartments for lead paint. It also prohibits landlords from renting contaminated units. Another improvement: loan and grant programs are being established to help landlords pay for the cost of remediating contaminated units. Shortcomings remain in the city’s approach, however. Owner-occupied rental[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Feb 19

2020

Lead poisoning plan missing key elements

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In January, the City of Buffalo launched its long-awaited pilot program to combat lead poisoning. The pilot program is small — much smaller than the problem in Buffalo, which has one of the highest rates of children afflicted with lead poisoning in the nation.  And, as it stands now, the program lacks funding mechanisms to make it bigger.  Furthermore, a key element is still missing: a new local law that will allow city inspectors access to the interiors of the city’s abundant rental singles and doubles in poor neighborhoods. Those dwellings comprise 80 percent of the city’s highest-risk properties. Still,[...]

Posted 3 years ago

May 2

2019

Heaney discusses OTB probe on ‘Pressroom

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Investigative Post reported last week that the FBI is investigating the Western Regional Off Track Betting Corp. Editor Jim Heaney discussed the investigation, and related issues, Thursday with Susan Arbetter of The Capitol Pressroom. Heaney also discussed a recent Investigative Post story on Buffalo’s failure to enact recommendations made more than a year ago to address the city’s serious lead poisoning problem.  

Posted 4 years ago

May 1

2019

Buffalo lags on addressing lead poisoning

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 Hundreds of young children living in Buffalo’s inner-city neighborhoods continue to be diagnosed every year with lead poisoning. And City Hall continues to do next to nothing about it. “Buffalo has not made as much progress as other communities have and not as much progress as perhaps they could,” said Andrew McLellan, president of Environmental Education Associates, which trains contractors and others to recognize and remediate lead hazards. Thirteen months ago, the Center for Governmental Research, a consulting firm in Rochester, developed an action plan with 19 recommendations for the city, county and state to adopt. The county has[...]

Posted 4 years ago

Mar 27

2018

Blueprint issued for combatting lead poisoning

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 The City of Buffalo needs to empower inspectors to get inside houses to determine whether they are contaminated with chipped or flaking lead paint, a report issued Tuesday said. While noting steps the city and Erie County have taken in recent years, the 102-page report by CGR Inc., a Rochester-based consulting firm, declared that defeating “lead poisoning will require much more from local government and the entire community.” The report included 17 recommendations, the most important ones addressing the need for stepped-up inspections of residential properties. As it now stands, inspectors are not guaranteed entry to test interiors for[...]

Posted 5 years ago

Feb 7

2018

Schools, county at odds over lead testing

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 Buffalo’s lead poisoning crisis – some 1,000 children are diagnosed every year with dangerous levels of lead in their blood – could be worse than reported, Investigative Post has determined. School officials can verify that only about half the children enrolled in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten have been tested at least once for lead poisoning. It’s uncertain how many got tested twice by the age of 3, as required by state law. In light of this, the schools have proposed to provide free lead screenings for incoming students and younger siblings at community schools and two mobile health clinics. But[...]

Posted 5 years ago

Nov 8

2017

Failing kids with lead poisoning

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Sherry Slaper was at wit’s end trying to help her lead poisoned daughter. She followed the orders of the Erie County Health Department by painting over the lead paint on her window sills and staircase, throwing away cheap Chinese toys that can contain traces of lead and obsessively cleaning her Kaisertown apartment. But her daughter’s lead levels did not drop. “It was a storm of emotions,” Slaper said. “You go from being angry to scared to sad.” Could it be the water, she thought? To be safe, she installed a water filter on her kitchen faucet. Then — and only[...]

Posted 5 years ago

Nov 7

2017

Testing to get the lead out

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The crisis in Flint, Mich., put a spotlight on the risks of lead in drinking water. The public water supplies in Buffalo and surrounding areas are not facing the same problems as Flint. Nonetheless, lead still poses a risk here because of our old infrastructure and housing stock. In fact, experts say there is always a risk of lead leaching into your tap water if you have a lead service line. Days after my story “Looking for lead (in all the wrong places)” in August 2016, I got calls from concerned Buffalo residents who wanted to know how they could[...]

Posted 5 years ago