A new report by Reuters finds that lead levels in New York City children’s blood is closely linked to the neighborhood they live in. Some neighborhoods have much higher lead results than others. As New York lead remediation experts we found this article very interesting.
We focus on lead and heavy metals in soil. We do indoor remediation once in a while but our real business is removing contaminated soil from front and back yards. Most of our clients are in Bedstuy and Williamsburg. But most of our living wall business is also there. We attributed our lead remediation business in these two areas as an indication that those two neighborhoods are the fastest growing. And that is probably the main reason.
But this study shines a new light onto this dynamic: Bedstuy and Williamsburg have by far the most results of children with high lead levels! Check out this graph. The redder the region the higher the lead levels. Where are the reddest areas? You got it: Bedstuy and Williamsburg.
Williamsburg has the most lead contamination by far. It used to be all industrial. Makes sense. But if you dig further you learn that it is specific to the Hasidic community there. My personal theory is that the results from those two areas are not entirely because those neighborhoods have high lead. This is especially true for Bedstuy. I would even guess that Bedstuy DOESN’T have higher levels than say Park Slope, which in the study came out very clean.
My theory has a lot more to do with economics than heavy metals. Both the Hasidic Jews and the poorer residents of Bedstuy more than anything lack the money to do anything about lead exposure. They tend to live in old housing stock where lead paint is common and the upkeep of the buildings is bad. I guarantee you the new wave of richer, mostly white, people moving to Bedstuy and gut renovating their brownstones don’t have children with high lead levels.
From my perspective of soil remediation it doesn’t change much. My clients will continue to be the new wave of people who can afford to spend thousands of dollars remediating their soil. For those who can’t afford it, they are going to struggle. The solution of for the city to be more aggressive in lead remediation because market forces are not going to solve the problem.