Over 50 Advocacy Groups Call on NJ Assembly to Advance Lead Prevention Bills
Leaders urge passage of home inspection changes to prevent childhood lead poisoning


An array of housing, health, childhood and other community advocates asked leaders of the New Jersey Assembly to take action on measures that can help prevent childhood lead poisoning.

“Children should not be lead detectors,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. “We need a proactive approach to protect children from ever stepping foot in a home that can poison them forever. The two bills currently before the Assembly would allow families the opportunity to protect themselves from a dangerous health crisis.”

More than 50 community leaders from around the state submitted a letter to Assembly leaders to request that advance A3585 and A3611. Sponsored by Assemblymembers Muoio, Gusciora, Holley and Schaer, A3585 would allow municipalities to conduct home inspections at least once every five years. Properties certified to be free of lead-based paint, constructed during and after 1978, and seasonal rental units would be exempt from the inspection requirements. Its companion, A3611, is sponsored by Assemblymembers Muoio and Holley and would ensure that rentals are being inspected for lead before a new tenant moves into the home.

"Communities and organizations across our state demand action on behalf of the most vulnerable amongst us,” said Analilia Mejia, director of the NJ Working Families Alliance. “How our state allocates resources is a testimony to what and whom they value, and to do anything less for New Jersey's families and children will speak volumes about this administration and legislature for years to come."

Data from Isles, Inc. has found that children in thirteen New Jersey communities have higher incidences of children affected by lead compared to Flint, MI. Those communities include Atlantic City, Irvington, Newark, East Orange, Trenton, Paterson, Plainfield, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Passaic, and Cumberland County.

"Communities and organizations across our state demand action on behalf of the most vulnerable “Lead poisoning prevention must be the beacon that guides NJ public policy going forward,” said Elyse Pivnick, director of environmental health for Isles, Inc. “Passage of these bills moves NJ a giant step forward in protecting our children from the life-time sentence of lead poisoning.”

“To fight back against lead poisoning, we need to stop treating our children like canaries in the coal mine,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Lead poisoning is one of the largest public health crisis impacting New Jersey and we need to start treating it like the crisis it is. There are no safe levels of lead in our children and these bills would provide more assurance that they aren’t moving into homes with lead contamination. We urge Speaker Prieto to take action to post these bills for a hearing as soon as possible.”

To view the letter and for more information on childhood lead prevention, visit www.hcdnnj.org/lead.

About the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ
The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey is the statewide association of more than 250 community development corporations, individuals and other organizations that support the creation of affordable homes, economic opportunities, and strong communities. For more information on the Network, visit www.hcdnnj.org.

For more information: Nina Arce
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