April 12, By Hannah Wulkan
Flakes of paint that are falling off some of the 7 train stations along Roosevelt Avenue contain as much as 50-times the amount of allowable lead, according to union officials.
The District Council 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades took samples of the paint in February and found that the paint flakes showed lead levels at 244,000 parts per million, 48 times the threshold of 5,000 parts per million when lead abatement is typically required.
“Not only are these toxic paint chips falling onto the communities below, but what’s seeping into the soil could have effects for years to come,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm in a statement. “Forty-eight times the levels that would require lead abatement is cause for a public health crisis.”
A representative from District Council 9 pointed out that the paint chips are falling on to heavily populated areas, including schools and parks, which could lead to serious health issues within the community.
“The dilapidated 7 line servicing our Queens communities have long been an eyesore, but now we know that they’re also a serious health hazard. The leaded paint chips is shedding over heavily populated streets like Roosevelt. Even more concerning is how extremely dangerous lead exposure is for children, and how much students rely on the 7 line to get to and from school,” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya in a statement, calling for a study of lead-related health issues in the community.
An MTA spokesperson said that it periodically inspects, scrapes and repaints all train structures, but did not answer questions specific to the 7 train or District Council 9’s findings. She also did not say when the 7 train structures were last scraped and repainted or when they were due for another update.
Moya, however, called on the City and MTA to propose a plan to scrape, prime and repaint the structures immediately in response to the study.