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NYC apartment tenants sue landlord for dangerous lead exposure

There are countless renters in New York who have problems with their landlords. Many of these complaints have to do with maintenance requests and repairs that take too long to be completed or frequent problems with building heat and hot water.

But some landlords are so negligent that they put the lives and health of their tenants at risk. According to a recent news article, tenants of an apartment complex on the Lower East Side are suing their landlord for demolition and remodeling practices that have created dust with lead concentrations up to 210 times higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

Much of the lead seemingly came from lead paint that was removed during demolition and renovation of an apartment on the top floor. The tenants claim that the demolition and lead-removal practices have not been performed safely and according to regulations. The most dangerous result of this has been exposure to dust with levels of lead between 45 times and 210 times the legal limit (of 40 micrograms per square foot).

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that the terrible demolition practices may be more insidious than simple landlord negligence. They allege that their landlord is attempting to drive tenants out of their rent-controlled apartments by subjecting them to excessive levels of noise as well as frequent disruptions in heat and electricity (in addition to dangerous levels of lead).

The toxic effects of lead exposure are well documented, which is why anyone doing demolition or renovation in a building with lead paint needs to follow very specific procedures to ensure safe removal and containment of debris. Landlords who negligently expose their tenants to this poisonous material may held liable in court.

Source:, "Stanton St. Building Had Above 200 Times the Legal Limit for Lead: Lawsuit," Lisha Arino, March 2, 2015

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