"I go to work, no one knows exactly what I'm undergoing at home."
In her apartment in the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, a woman asked us to conceal her identity. She said she's just too ashamed to have her coworkers learn about the condition of her apartment, like the leak above her stove.
Pests have forced her to spread boric acid in the kitchen, and teach her son to stay away from it.
"A four year-old, I have to tell him and educate him," she explained. "This is poison. You cannot touch it, because you can die. And this is for the roaches and the mice."
But most upsetting of all is the chipping paint. She said she tested it with an over-the-counter kit approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and it detected lead.
"If it changes colors to reddish-pinkish, then that means it's positive. So that's what happened," the resident said.
She said that when she confronted the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) with the results, the agency gave her a test from 13 years ago that claimed the paint was lead-free.
"We're in 2018, a few months away from 2019, and they send me a report from 2005," the resident said.
A damning report by the city's Department of Investigation last year charged that NYCHA failed to conduct required annual lead inspections in 55,000 apartments, and lied to the government about the inspections.
A NYCHA spokesman acknowledges the city last tested the Queensbridge Houses unit in 2005 but insisted that, because no lead paint was found, the apartment did not have to be tested again.
The tenant said she approached Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an event last month and asked for help, resulting in a state health department visit.
"They did a thorough investigation," she said. "Each wall, they tested, and they also took swabs of the dust that is coming out of the walls."
She said she hoped to receive those test results next week, and that, no matter what it shows, NYCHA will finally grant her request to move to another housing development.