Mayor Vetoes City Council's Lead Paint Bill Cites Difficulties for Landlords

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg last month vetoed the New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, which was intended to replace Local Law 38 and correct lead-based paint hazards in housing, schools, day care facilities and playgrounds.

The bill, commonly referred to as Intro 101A, was an effort by city council members to adopt a new lead paint abatement law following a state Court of Appeals decision July 1, 2003 that invalidated the current Local Law 38. The City Council will next determine if they have the votes necessary to override Mayor Bloomberg's veto or if an override fails, alternate legislation would need to be drafted, according to Lupe Todd, a council spokesman.

Local Law 38 was one of a series of local laws that govern how property owners address the health hazards that result from the presence of lead-based paint in residential buildings. Local Law 38, which was passed by the council in 1999 and signed into law by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, replaced Local Law 1 of 1982. New York City was the first municipality in the country to ban the sale of lead-based paint in 1960.

Bill Useful But Flawed

Bloomberg notes in his veto message that the incidence of lead poisoning cases has significantly declined over the past three decades, calling it a "remarkable public health success story."

"For instance in 1970, there were 2,649 children with blood lead levels that were 60 micrograms per deciliter or greater, a level that requires immediate medical attention; by last year, cases at that level had plummeted to 8," the mayor wrote. "More recent statistics are also impressive - from 1995 to 2002 alone, the number of children with blood lead levels of 100 micrograms per deciliter or greater declined almost 80 percent - from 21,575 to 4,876 children."

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