Muoio, Spencer Bill to Require Regular, Consistent Testing for Lead in NJ Schools Water Supply Approved by Panel

Move Comes in Wake of Flint, MI Water Crisis; Children with Elevated Levels of Lead Contamination Higher than Flint in Trenton; and Newark Schools Finding Dangerous Levels of Lead in Water Supply

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Elizabeth Maher Muoio and L. Grace Spencer to require regular, consistent testing for lead statewide in New Jersey school drinking water cleared its first legislative hurdle on Monday.

Following the public health crisis in Flint, MI, it was reported that 11 municipalities in New Jersey had children with higher levels of lead contamination than children in Flint. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that schools in Newark were found to have significantly elevated levels of lead in the water supply.

Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon), whose district includes the capital city of Trenton, one of the 11 municipalities with lead levels higher than those of Flint. Spencer represents parts of Essex County.

“Lead poisoning is insidious because it is cumulative, irreversible and leads to a lifetime of developmental and physical disabilities,” said Muoio (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “In the simplest of terms, we need to be doing more to protect New Jersey’s children from lead. We need to test, and currently, New Jersey schools and daycare centers aren’t required to check their drinking water for elevated levels of lead.”

“We do not want Newark or any other city in New Jersey to become the next Flint, Michigan,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “We have not done enough to guard our children against lead and to repair the state’s aging water infrastructure. Lead testing in schools and daycares must be a requirement going forward. It is imperative that we act on this and fast.”

The bill was released by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. It now goes the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.