Report reveals depth of Coney Island’s lead poisoning problem

Photo by Matt Tracy/Coney Island News

In some parts of Coney Island and southern Brooklyn, nearly 12 percent of children between 0-5 years old were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood — and the city has failed to properly address the issues, according to a citywide Reuters investigation.

The investigation, which included an example of a 116-year-old building in Coney Island that has been slapped with 163 outstanding housing code violations, found that the city has often failed to act until kids have suffered from lead poisoning.

Furthermore, a New York City Department of Investigation probe unveiled this week found that NYCHA did not carry out mandatory lead safety inspections in older buildings and then falsified documents stating they did.

A tenant of the building in Coney Island said it was not until her two-year-old son suffered from lead poisoning that the city came and found paint hazards. The landlord of the building denied that the building was the culprit.

Elevated levels of lead were found in 10.32 percent of children tested along Coney Island’s southern coastal area and 11.76 percent of children tested in the area immediately surrounding the Coney Island Creek, according to the report. The area between the creek and the beach showed more moderate levels, and 4.86 percent of children near Kaiser Park tested positive for elevated levels of lead.

The issue continues to plague the city more than five decades after banning lead paint in residences. The city has made strides in the fight against elevated levels of lead, but the progress has been slow in certain parts of the city.

Lead exposure has been connected to behavioral disorders, brain damage, and other health issues.

About Matt Tracy 159 Articles
Matt is a reporter with experience covering neighborhood news, politics, sports, and more. Send news tips to

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