By Bill Parry
A bill requiring the MTA and the New York City Transit Authority to study lead levels on above-ground subway stations, tracks and trestles whenever renovations are made was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday. The legislation co-sponsored by state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) was passed by the state Legislature in June.
“New Yorkers will feel safer knowing that dangerous lead paint levels in the subway system will be dealt with from now on,” Peralta said. “For too long, lead paint chips have been falling onto the streets, but now the MTA will have to remove this hazardous situation when it does renovations or repaints elevated parts of the subway system. This is a good first step in protecting our communities, neighbors, visitors and shoppers. As the MTA is about to repaint the elevated tracks of the 7 train, a line that cuts across my district, this will be a good opportunity for the agency to tackle the poisonous lead paint presence in the transit system.”
Peralta introduced the legislation after a report published by the District 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades that found some samples of paint chips falling onto Roosevelt Avenue beneath the No. 7 contained 224,000 parts per million of lead paint, more than 40 times the 5,000 parts per million legal threshold.
“Safety is a top priority when performing work on our system and we look forward to detailing our work around lead abatement,” an MTA spokesman said. “Any work involving lead paint is performed in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and federal and state requirements for our workers, the traveling public and the communities that we serve.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr