Lead Poisoning Not Only A Problem For Flint: New Jersey Children Have High Lead Levels
The lead contamination problem that Flint, Michigan is experiencing concerning their water supply has prompted other towns and cities to carefully scrutinize their own water supply systems. Additionally, people have begun testing the blood concentration levels of lead in their local populations of young children. Such testing has recently been conducted in New Jersey. It was discovered that in certain New Jersey localities, children have a higher concentration of lead in the blood than was found in the children of Flint.
Children in several major cities and two counties in New Jersey have been tested for lead concentration levels in their blood, My Central Jersey reports. The New Jersey locations where children have higher lead concentrations than children in Flint, Michigan include:
- Atlantic City
- Cumberland County
- East Orange
- Jersey City
- New Brunswick
- Salem County
Where Is The Lead Coming From In New Jersey?
In New Jersey, the lead is not coming from corroded water supplies, like the lead in Flint, Michigan. Rather, the lead lead in New Jersey is coming from old paint in homes that has not been removed or renovated in many years. While traditionally it was believed that young children were getting lead poisoning from ingesting lead-based paint chips (lead-based paint has a sweetness to it), it is now known that lead can be ingested by breathing in or swallowing paint dust (dust formed by the deterioration of the lead-based paint).
Lead poisoning in children in New Jersey is becoming an unavoidable issue. These shocking results have prompted New Jersey officials to reconsider adding ten million dollars back into the current state budget for the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund. This money would go towards programs to help remove old, lead based paint from old homes in New Jersey and has already been earmarked for lead exposure prevention measures, but the money for this program has been diverted to the general budget for the past few years. Additionally, officials are considering imposing inspections of one- and two-family homes for lead paint, and potentially even rental units with more than three bedrooms, lead abatement projects, and financing the relocations of families whose homes are affected by unsafe levels of lead. These measures are meant to address preventing to exposure of young children to lead sources.
While lead based products in old homes is an old problem, it has taken a back seat in recent years. The recent lead poisoning of children in Flint has raised awareness of lead poisoning in hundreds of communities around the country. Not only are communities evaluating their water supplies, but they are also looking for other sources of lead that could be harmful to children.