BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on Tuesday by state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Elmhurst) that would require the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit Authority to conduct studies and disclose the amount of lead paint falling onto the streets below during renovations.
Peralta held press conferences earlier this year to draw attention to the lead paint that frequently fell from the 7 train’s elevated train tracks onto the streets of the communities that he represents.
Peralta’s bill demands that the MTA submit a report formulating recommendations to eliminate lead paint in the elevated subway system.
“New Yorkers will feel safer knowing that dangerous lead paint levels in the subway system will be dealt with from now on,” said Peralta. “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 poisonous lead paint presence in the transit system.”
According to reports by the District 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, approximately 224,000 parts per million of lead paint was found beneath the 7 train, which is more than 40 times the legal threshold of 5,000 parts per million.
Peralta teamed up with state Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), whose district has a number of elevated subway lines, to create the bill.
“Our communities should not have to put themselves at risk because of an aging subway system,” said Dinowitz. “Our children walk home under the elevated trains. We have people selling food, and we have storm water that washes all that grime straight into our rivers. New Yorkers have a right to know what the environmental risks are, and I thank Gov. Cuomo for helping make sure that we will find out by signing our bill.”