Advocates Propose Lead Poisoning Prevention Action Plan

Aired February 14, 2018
By Phil Greggory

Advocates are proposing an action plan to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in New Jersey in ten years.

Ruth Ann Norton is president of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. She says more prevention efforts are needed so children don’t suffer learning disabilities and organ damage from lead poisoning.

“Kids poisoned by lead are seven times more likely to drop out of school. They will earn about a million dollars less over their lifetime. They will also face higher risk of hypertension, cardiac arrest, and early death.”

Staci Berger is president and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. She says the plan would require all rental housing to be regularly inspected.

“Landlords should have to affirmatively show that their homes are free of risk for children from lead paint. It needs to be done for every rental home but especially in the one and two-family homes which are not currently inspected as rigorously inspected as multi-family apartments are.”

Advocates are hoping the governor increases funding for a hazard control program to remove lead paint from homes.

Peter Chen with Advocates for Children of New Jersey says the plan would mandate the state to share data on neighborhoods where lead exposure risks are high.

“Any successful lead prevention strategy is going to require a strong data strategy to get information in the hands of the people who can use it best. We’re talking about local health department, non-profits, community groups, and families themselves.”

Elyse Pivnick is the director of environmental health at Isles, a community development organization in Trenton. She says Governor Phil Murphy should appoint an environmental justice coordinator to achieve the objectives of the action plan.

“I’m very optimistic. We have a governor who has publicly stated his commitment to reduce lead poisoning in New Jersey and provide better services for our children.”