The newly adopted state budget commits $170 million to remove lead paint from thousands of old homes, a decision hailed as “the beginning of the end for lead paint poisoning in New Jersey.”
An estimated 250,000 homes in New Jersey and 29 million nationwide are contaminated with lead paint. People ingest lead as the paint ages and turns into dust. It poses the greatest harm to children, who can suffer brain damage, slowing their development and causing learning difficulties and behavior problems.
Nearly 4,000 children tested positive for elevated levels of lead in their blood during the fiscal year that ended in June 2019, according to the state health department. The five largest municipalities with the highest percentage of children with the highest level of lead in their blood are East Orange, Trenton, Atlantic City, Irvington and West Orange, according to the latest Department of Health report.
Sean Jackson, CEO of Isles, Inc. , a Trenton-based nonprofit that has made lead tackling a priority for decades: “These dollars will make thousands of homes and apartments throughout our state bulletproof for our children and families.” “We know that making these homes safe reduces healthcare costs, improves educational performance, and helps our children and family succeed. This is an investment that will pay off for our families — and our state.”
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Isles estimates that 72,000 homes could be made lead-free and safe with state money, based on an analysis by the nonprofit organization of successful treatment programs across the country, Isles policy director Ben Heygood said. He said the organization had submitted these recommendations to the state’s Departments of Community and Health Affairs for consideration when establishing the programme.
The $170 million was included in the $50.6 billion budget that Governor Phil Murphy signed Thursday, but it comes from the $1.9 trillion U.S. bailout, the pandemic relief package from the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress.
Although lead paint has been illegal since 1978, exposure to lead remains a problem for children who live in older homes, come into contact with soil contaminated with gasoline or whose tap water is delivered through lead-based service lines. According to the American Centers for Disease Control. control and prevention. The CDC said lead was found in some toys, candy and packaging.
The influx of money will help the state implement a year-old law that requires landlords of every single family, two families, and multiple rental homes built before 1978 to be screened for lead-based paint hazards in rental turnover, or if Highgood says a tenant will stay within two years. Landlords must be able to provide new tenants an updated Lead Safe Certificate.
Instead of detecting lead exposure through sick children, the law would require “proactive inspections,” which Highgood described as “truly groundbreaking and life-changing for children.”
“More than a dozen children are still exposed to lead poisoning every day in New Jersey, and according to the New Jersey Department of Health, dust from lead paint is responsible for at least 75% of those cases. This new funding provides a significant down payment to deliver on the promise to end the poisoning. Children Shot in Forever New Jersey Kids.”
State law requires physicians to screen children for lead and to refer those with elevated levels for home treatment and nursing supervision. There is no cure for lead poisoning.
Local health departments conducted 1,127 environmental investigations as a result of high levels of lead found in children in fiscal year 2019. Of these, health officials ordered 621 properties to be repaired, including 58 in Jersey City and 56 in Patterson, and 85% of the properties were, the report said. the health.
The new state budget also earmarked $300 million for water infrastructure projects, which Rashan Brailo, co-chairs of Lead-Free NJ, said they hope will be used to remove the lead pipeline that supplies drinking water.
“With this budget, New Jersey is approaching a reality where no child will suffer from the toxic effects of lead, whether in the paint in their home, or in the water they drink,” according to Brillo and Mance’s statement.
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