Children in 11 New Jersey cities were tested and found to have higher lead blood levels than Flint, Michigan residents. The report comes out of New Jersey after residents of Flint, Michigan were found to have been drinking lead-contaminated water.
There were more than 3,000 new cases of children younger than 6 with high levels of lead in New Jersey in 2015, reports My Central Jersey.
Unlike the lead scare in Flint, which was linked to water, New Jersey’s high lead levels have been caused by paint.
Director of environmental health for Isles Inc. Elyse Pivnick commented: “Because of Flint, Mich., most of the world now knows lead in water can poison children. The deplorable water scandal is an important story, but it is just as tragic and alarming that thousands of children in New Jersey continue to be exposed to lead year after year.”
Community groups in New Jersey say that children are becoming sick from exposure to lead, reports ABC 6.
“Kids are going to emergency rooms and then being sent back to places that are going to make them sick again. So we’re perpetuating a cycle,” said Stacie Berger, member of the Housing and Community Development Network.
Lead paint remains on the walls of outdated buildings in many New Jersey cities like Trenton and Atlantic City. Children can easily come into contact with lead-contaminated paint chips that fall from walls and ceilings.
Lead poisoning specialist Joe Ponessa commented “A couple of milligrams of lead paint is enough to put a child at the old danger level of 20 units. Now the level of concern is 5 units of lead.”
Concerned advocacy groups are leading a push for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to take actions to curb the lead poisoning crisis. Legislation to add an additional $10 million to the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund is currently being considered.
Last month, Christie vetoed another budget increase for the state’s lead poison prevention group.