That’s the number of kids living in the city’s crumbling public housing developments who tested positive for dangerous lead levels since 2012, city Health Department officials finally disclosed Thursday.
The figure provides the first holistic count of the number children living in New York City Housing Authoring apartments who tested positive for lead exposure — and nearly doubles previous estimates.
Earlier this summer, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene quietly disclosed data that showed as many as 820 children under the age of six tested positive for lead levels the federal Centers for Disease Control consider dangerous.
However, those figures did not include a count of children who tested positive for lead poisoning in excess of the city’s standard, which is less stringent than CDC standard. Federal prosecutors charged in their lawsuit against NYCHA that as many as 200 children may have tested positive at the city levels.
The new numbers from DOHMH finally provide a total count that includes both the CDC and city standards — to reach the higher new tally.
According to the figures, 303 public housing residents under 18 tested positive for lead exposure levels exceeding the CDC’s level in 2012. That figure dropped to 248 children tested positive in 2013; 239 in 2014; 171 in 2015; ticked up to 177 in 2016; and then dropped again to 160 in 2017.
Another 77 children have tested positive between January and June of this year, bringing the total to 1,375.
“By any measures you can see the number of children elevated blood lead levels have gone down. they’ve gone down year on year since we have been collecting data separately by housing type for children in New York City,” said Health Department Commissioner Mary Bassett.