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Wednesday 7 December 2022
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Buffalo’s Lead Levels Higher Than Anticipated, City Introduces Aggressive 11-Point Plan

Buffalo’s lead poisoning problem has already been recognized, but now reports are saying that the problem is unfortunately much worse than state and local officials have let on.
Up until this point, officials have only released data that shows the number of children who have blood levels that exceed the state’s threshold. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the level of concern for children and lead poisoning exposure is 10 micrograms per deciliter for blood lead levels. Last year, the numbers in Buffalo approached 300.
However, new data obtained by the Investigative Post reveals that the number of children with excessive lead levels was over an estimated 1,100.
In other words: at least three times more children have harmful levels of lead in their blood than initially revealed by state and local health officials.
“I’m surprised at how bad and how high that number is,” said Arthur Wheaton, the director of Western New York Labor and Environmental Programs for The Worker Institute at Cornell University.
In the wake of this alarming news, the City of Buffalo spoke out on May 4, unveiling a comprehensive plan to fight lead exposure in the Queen city. Mayor Byron Brown made a public announcement on Wednesday saying that the Buffalo Lead Hazard Control Program has an 11-point plan including legislation, collaboration, education, and remediation to remedy the issue.
At the conference, representatives spoke adamantly about how action needs to be taken as soon and as aggressively as possible.
“Everyone’s been talking about Flint, Michigan, for the last six months and with good reason, because of the issues in Flint, but unfortunately, there are more children with high blood lead levels in the City of Buffalo and other parts of Erie County, as this is not just a city issue, in our community, than there are in Flint, Michigan,” said Poloncarz.
According to Time Warner Cable News Buffalo, one of the most significant parts of the plan includes multiple amendments to the City Charter, City Code, and the City’s Rental Registry Law.
“Now, every landlord in the city of Buffalo will have to complete a certification that notifies their tenants that their property is either lead-free or there is the presence of lead in their property. Certificates of Occupancy will not be granted to dwellings with lead-based paint hazards,” said Brown, D-Buffalo.