NY State Legislators Call for Insurance for Lead in Rented Homes

Buffalo Democrat Sean Ryan is leading the charge to make insurance available to renters who have lead paint in their homes.  " It’s unfair, it’s unjust, and we have to fix it,” the lawmaker said Thursday in the Capitol Building, as part of a contingent of advocates asking the governor and lawmakers to support additional funding for childhood lead-poisoning prevention and mitigation. 

Ryan is sponsoring S.3079A, which would require licensed and home rental insurers to provide losses or damages caused by exposure to lead-based paint. The proposal sits in the Senate Insurance Committee. 

Lead paint is still present in millions of homes, sometimes under layers of newer paint. If the paint is in good shape, the lead paint is usually not a problem. Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, damaged, or damp) is a hazard and needs immediate attention.

Lead-based paint may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear, such as:

  • Windows and window sills;
  • Doors and door frames; and
  • Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.

Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, especially in young children. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood.

Lead may also cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and in extreme cases, death. Some symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness and irritability. Children who are lead poisoned may show no symptoms.

A few weeks ago, I published a post on the prevalence and dangers of exposure to lead.  This proposed legislation is a step in the right direction, albeit a step that should have been taken decades ago. 

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