Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced his comprehensive plan to address lead hazards at an event on Thursday marking the release of the Jersey Water Works Lead in Drinking Water Task Force Report. The Governor announced a comprehensive plan to combat lead poisoning including his plan to seek a $500 million state bond to be used to fund lead service line replacement and the remediation of lead hazards in homes. Well over 4,000 New Jersey children are irreversibly harmed by exposure to lead hazards each year. Recent elevated levels of lead in drinking water in Newark have brought national attention to the state’s lead crisis and how it is adding to generations of New Jersey children unnecessarily poisoned by lead. The Governor’s plan is thoughtful, actionable and to be commended.
Lead poisoning undermines children’s ability to read, to learn and to earn. Lead poisoning causes neurological damage in children, increased crime and a less prepared workforce for the future. The presence of lead in paint, water and soil disrupts and destabilizes communities. Governor Murphy acknowledged that New Jersey’s housing stock puts children at risk in communities throughout the state.
The Governor’s plan will supplement existing federal and state funds to match investment more closely to the scale of the state’s lead problem and will dramatically advance efforts to move the needle on lead poisoning and reduce its impact on New Jersey communities. The Governor’s Comprehensive Statewide Plan to Address Lead Exposure in New Jersey also includes:
- Mandating inspection and disclosure of lead-based paint hazards and lead in drinking water in homes at the point-of-sale;
- Requiring lead safe certification for rental properties including inspection and remediation of lead hazards in housing and drinking water;
- Allowing investor-owned utilities to include the cost of lead-service line replacement in rates;
- Requiring blood lead testing of children prior to entering school.
The Governor also acknowledged the importance of building workforce capacity to effectively implement the program. This will include implementing high school and vocational-technical school programs where students can train and get certified to become lead risk assessors and lead-certified contractors.
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative is proud to be a partner to the State of New Jersey, The Fund for New Jersey, New Jersey Health Initiatives, Jersey Water Works Lead in Drinking Water Task Force, the strong statewide advocate organizations and other New Jersey partners working to develop and implement recommendations that will eliminate childhood lead poisoning in the state.
“It is well understood that we can no longer wait to scale the efforts necessary to address lead hazards and to allow this problem to be the burden of future generations. Governor Murphy’s actions today will advance the mission of eradicating lead exposure for children and families in New Jersey. We applaud the Governor on his bold action to protect the future of New Jersey’s children. This smart and effective plan will open pathways to greater opportunities for all New Jersey citizens. We are honored to be a partner in this work and we look forward to working shoulder to shoulder with the New Jersey community to ensure that we deliver on the promise of ending the toxic legacy of lead poisoning.”
Ruth Ann Norton
President & CEO
Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
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