WE ACT for Environmental Justice

1854 Amsterdam Avenue, Floor 2 New York, 10031
Tagline: Expert and stakeholder roundtable on lead poisoning prevention advocacy in NYC.

With funding from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, NCHH awarded 15 $5,000 Lead Poisoning Awareness Community Mini-Grants in 2017. These grants were for community events focused on raising awareness, engaging community leaders in advocacy, or motivating policy change around lead poisoning prevention.
As a mini-grantee, WE ACT for Environmental Justice was able to convene a roundtable of experts and stakeholders who are positioned to advocate for better policies and enforcement to protect children and families from the threat of lead poisoning. In addition to the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and Director of Environmental Health from WE ACT, the roundtable was attended by: environmental law attorneys from Schulte Ross & Zabel, Earthjustice, and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; and staff from the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Cooper Square Committee, the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, Tenants and Neighbors, and the NYC Coalition to End Lead Poisoning.
The roundtable, titled “Preventing and Responding to Childhood Lead Exposure: What’s Happened Since Local Law 1 of 2004?” took place at the Harlem Community Development Corporation. Its purpose was to:
1. Engage key stakeholders, experts, and thought leaders on childhood exposure to discuss and develop strategies around the lack of enforcement of Local Law 1 of 2004.
2. Discuss the status of State level lead policies:
a. Lead in School Drinking Water
b. Blood Lead Level Regulations
3. Increase participants’ understanding of the state-of-play of the enforcement of NYC and State Lead policies in order to advance enforcement for protecting New York children from lead exposure.
This lead roundtable project was an important success because it brought together some influential partners and built renewed momentum for our shared aims of reducing childhood exposure to lead in New York City and State. As a result of the roundtable, there is now greater familiarity and corroboration among a group of actors who have been separately working for many decades on lead throughout New York. These groups have agreed to unify their efforts on policy and advocacy to protect children statewide.
The chief agreed-upon objectives going forward are to:
1. End the stalled settlement negotiations in our current lawsuit against the City over the lack of enforcement of Local Law 1 of 2004. This will allow us to renew active litigation, which will hopefully lead to a better outcome for our communities, and prompt the City to take meaningful action to safeguard children and families.
2. The groups in attendance at the roundtable will continue to work together at the state level to lower the threshold blood lead levels at which New York State agencies must undertake medical intervention, preventive efforts, and follow-ups.
3. Roundtable attendees also pledged to continue careful monitoring of the state’s performance on school lead testing.
4. Develop a report, “Where Lead Is Now,” with participation from groups including WE ACT, NYCCELP, the Urban Justice Center, and the Cooper Square Committee.
5. Finally, the group is making plans to secure a City Council oversight hearing on Local Law 1 enforcement.

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