NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – A win for kids in Elm City.
After a two-year legal battle, New Haven has settled a class action lawsuit over winding up its lead inspection program.
This is important as lead poisoning can cause brain damage. It all started when lawyers representing a number of families argued that New Haven was not following the own standards the city had put in place for its guiding program.
Now this agreement will keep them sticking to it.
City lawyers and affected families have signed the new protocols and procedures New Haven has now put in place for dealing with lead poisoning.
“Although our country banned lead pain in 1978, it remains the color of much of our older housing stock in older cities like New Haven,” said Amy Marx, New Haven Legal Assistance Association.
Amy Marx and the New Haven Legal Assistance Association represented more than 30 low-income families dealing with lead poisoning and filed a class action lawsuit two years ago alleging the previous government failed to obey its own rules over what led to children becoming sick.
This is a problem because lead chips and dust getting into children’s mouths can cause brain damage.
“It’s so important for our community to understand that if we work hard and the city has the right structure to catch it before it becomes significant, we can avoid the negative effects and long-term permanent effects of lead on children . Said Mayor Justin Elicker. F.
The settlement assessed and rebuilt the city’s main inspection and enforcement program, including ensuring the city flags children for exposure if their blood tests showed five micrograms per deciliter, rather than the 20 as required by state law.
“The time frame is probably the biggest thing. A file must be open within two days of notification of an elevated level. When it came to recording issues, we had no files,” said Marx.
Another important criterion is a lead management plan that not only keeps the cut down, but also keeps track of the need for homeowners to check the paint every six months and put it in the land registry to make it public.
“We want to be able to educate families about the risk of lead exposure and how individuals can protect their children and themselves from lead poisoning,” said Martiza Bond, New Haven health director.
The city says it has closed almost 240 lead cases in the past two years, 158 of which are currently open.
To help, New Haven increased its chief inspectors from two to six, used more than $ 5.5 million in federal funding to increase reach, and hired a healthy home inspector.
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