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Worry Mounts About Lead Paint Chips Falling From Queens Elevated Subway Trestle

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Riders and residents are worried about chips containing lead paint falling from an aging subway system elevated trestle in Queens.

Often overlooked, but clearly in need of repair, the train trestle along the No. 7 service in Queens is now in toxic decay, according to City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-25th).

"The trestle is in really bad shape," Dromm told CBS2's Valerie Castro. "I'm surprised that it hasn't fallen down yet. It's rusted. Paint is falling down off of it."

The paint, he claimed, is of the greatest concern. It is peeling and chipping away, and it contains lead.

"I worked with the painters' union to ask them to come out and to try to test the paint, and the paint chips that are falling down from the train trestle," Dromm said. "They found that the chips that are falling off of that trestle are 44 times greater than acceptable levels of lead paint poisoning."

Residents said they are worried too.

"It's concerning for everybody, really -- not only for me," said Ruben Morales of Queens. "For the children that; the mothers that go with the stroller. The paint chips could fall on one of the strollers."

"In my area, we have a lot of food vendors underneath the Number 7 Line, and I'm sure that pieces of lead paint are falling into the food that they're serving," Dromm added. "It's a major concern."

Dromm believes the structure is long overdue for repair.

"If you go from 103rd Street to 52nd Street, I can guarantee you that that section has not been painted in 35 years," he said.

But in a statement, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said no station on the 7 Line or any of the connecting infrastructure has gone 35 years without being repainted.

The agency said the current capital program includes the decrepit area, and 48th Street through 103rd Street "is the only section of the Flushing Line that has yet to be painted and we have contracts out for it to be painted."

Dromm said, "It needs to be remediated immediately."

"Please, for our sake and the children -- especially the children -- for our sake health-wise, we really need this help," said Eve Luchana of Queens.

Dromm encouraged anyone who lives near that section of that line to be tested for lead poisoning.

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