ACNJ thanks Gov. Christie for signing bill to protect children exposed to lead.

Posted on February 7, 2017

Dear Governor Christie:

Thank you for signing S-1830/A-3411, and for proposing new regulations for childhood lead poisoning interventions, which will together bring New Jersey in line with national recommendations on the level of lead in a child’s blood needed to trigger intervention.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) has for decades advocated for the strongest standards to protect children from lead poisoning. The lifelong effects of a tiny amount of lead can be devastating for a child.

ACNJ welcomes and supports the long-needed changes to the blood-lead level requiring state action. Experts now recognize that even very low levels of lead in blood can affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. And the effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected. As a result, ACNJ is pleased to see that state statutes and regulations are conforming the definition of an “elevated blood lead level” to that of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which adopted a five micrograms per deciliter reference level for elevated blood lead level in 2012.

The amended statutes and regulations will require interventions for an additional estimated 3,000 children in New Jersey. These children will need case management and home visits to assess their risks and reduce lead hazards in their homes and environments. Local health departments tasked with addressing this issue need sufficient sustainable funding to support lead-poisoned children and their families.

In addition, ACNJ applauds the additional funding that your administration has already provided for lead remediation and abatement and urges you to allocate additional long-term funding to get the lead out of homes, child care centers, schools, and parks.

As with other health issues affecting young children, if New Jersey does not pay to reduce lead hazards now, the state will be paying much more in higher costs later. Every dollar spent on reducing lead hazards results in $17-$221 in long-term savings.

Kudos again on taking leadership on this critical issue!

Thank you.

Cecilia Zalkind