New Jersey Looks to Replenish a Very Depleted Lead Prevention Fund

6/25/2015

"The huge number of lead-tainted children is 'criminal'. It's like throwing away children. I don't get it. I just don't get it." 


The quote above comes from Dr. Ted Lidsky, a Staten Island neuropsychologist and neuroscientist, talking about the incidence of childhood lead exposure in New Jersey.  222,000 children in New Jersey were affected by lead exposure between 2000-2014 the Asbury Press reports.  This number is coming in the wake of reports showing $50 million has been shuttled away from the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund over the course of about 10 years due to budget restraints.  Cutting down on lead poisoning prevention or assistance programs due to budget concerns is not an uncommon tactic among local and state governments, but what lawmakers fail to realize is that their community will pay the price in a different way, due to increased special education costs or future lost wages from affected children.  Lead exposure is completely preventable unlike certain other issues that lawmakers face. 

A bill that would put $10 million into the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th has been approved by the New Jersey State Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and will now be voted on in the Senate.  This fund provides funds for temporary housing for families whose homes have lead, lead abatement services, and a safe housing index for lead free housing among other preventative measures.  A primary sponsor of the bill Sen. Ronald Rice, D-Essex told the Asbury Park Press that lead exposure is a much simpler issue to address than “the problem of guns, violence or drugs, so why would we not want to do this?”  
 
To read the articles in the Asbury Park Press,  http://www.app.com/story/news/investigations/watchdog/investigations/2015/06/22/new-jersey-lead-poisoning-children/29123605/
http://www.app.com/story/news/investigations/watchdog/investigations/2015/06/19/lead-poisoning-new-jersey-children/28995795/

The Cape May County Herald
http://www.capemaycountyherald.com/article/government/trenton/107645-legislation+fund+and+address+lead+hazards+advances

For more information on where lead can be found, the effects of lead poisoning, and how to keep your family safe:  http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips.htm  http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/infographic.htm

If you think your child has been exposed to lead call your healthcare provider.


If you find lead in your home contact your local health department

 

 

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