Senator Peralta and AM Dinowitz Introduce Bill to Require the MTA to Examine Lead Paint Levels at Elevated Subway Lines

State Senator Jose Peralta and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) introduced legislation that will direct the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the New York City Transit Authority to conduct a study relative to the amount of lead paint at elevated subway tracks and stations throughout the City. The bill also mandates that the study, to be conducted in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health, determine the degree to which the MTA complies with the federal Clean Air Act.  

One of the elevated lines in the subway system is the 7 Train, which cuts across Senator Peralta’s District. “As we just celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 7 Train, what better present than repainting the trestles, aboveground stations, and making sure dangerous lead-paint chips no longer fall onto the streets and sidewalks?” said Senator Peralta. “This is the subway line that cuts through several hard-working neighborhoods like Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Woodside.”

Assemblyman Dinowitz, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions, said, “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. As the MTA continuously strives to make their trains and stations as safe as possible we must ensure that they do not become a detriment to our environment and our communities.”

According to District 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and media reports, some samples of paint chips falling onto the streets from the elevated 7 train structure and stations contain 224,000 parts per million of lead paint, more than 40 times the legal threshold. Lead abatement procedures are generally required when levels top 5,000 parts per million.

Senator Peralta and Asemblyman Dinowitz also called on the MTA to seek an immediate solution to resolve the problem created by the lead paint chips falling onto the streets and sidewalks for the elevated tracks of the 7 train.

Under Senator Peralta and Assemblyman Dinowitz’s proposal, the MTA will submit a written report, establishing recommendations to eliminate any possible exposure to lead by falling paint chips. The MTA will present the findings of the study to the Governor of New York, to the New York City Mayor, the Temporary President of the State Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly. The study will “review past renovations to stations to determine the amount of lead pain abatement.”

Exposure to poisonous levels of lead paint can result in extensive damage to a person’s central nervous system and brain. “We need to protect everyone from dangerous lead paint chips falling onto the streets, this is why is vital we evaluate lead paint levels and work to remove the problem from the subway’s infrastructure,” said Senator Peralta.