The city is firing back after published reports said more than 800 children in New York City public housing tested positive for elevated lead levels over a five-year period.
The Daily News and the New York Post reported Sunday that the 820 kids who tested positive between 2012 and 2016 were ages five or younger.
According to the reports, that number greatly exceeds the city's claims that only 19 children living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments had tested positive for elevated lead levels in the past decade.
But City Hall told NY1 on Sunday afternoon that it never claimed those 19 children were the only kids who had tested positive for elevated lead levels.
The city said that since at least 2012, per Centers for Disease Control recommendations, it has contacted a child's family and health care provider if the child has tested positive for lead levels of 5 micro-grams per deciliter of blood and above, and has conducted home visits for levels of 10 micro-grams per deciliter of blood.
The reports said the city only considered children with levels higher than 10 micro-grams per deciliter of blood at risk.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a few hours after the Post and Daily News reports that the city will invest $10 million to make New York one of the first cities in the country to conduct free home inspections for all children with lead levels of 5 micro-grams per deciliter of blood and above.
The mayor's office said the city started using the Centers for Disease Control standard this January.
At the time, the city was negotiating a settlement with federal prosecutors in their investigation of NYCHA and lead paint inspections.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer said Sunday afternoon that his office would launch an investigation into the city's procedures for address lead poisoning hazards.
"This deception must end today. It is horrifying that the Department of Health kept this information under wraps and it is outrageous that the City continues to justify and minimize this scandal," Stringer said in a statement.
A spokesperson for City Hall fired back a few hours later: "The Comptroller seems to be reacting to a tabloid headline instead of concrete public health evidence. The CDC guidance is clear, and the Health Department has always followed it. The reason we are now going above and beyond these guidelines is because the City has had dramatic success in reducing childhood lead exposure."