Assemblywoman Elizabeth Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) issued the following statement Monday after Gov. Christie announced a plan to address lead exposure via school water systems in New Jersey. The plan incorporates provisions from legislation Muoio introduced in the Assembly (A-3539, A-3411):
“The plan the governor announced today is a major step forward as New Jersey works to mitigate the damaging impact that lead has on children. After hearing the governor refer to lead poisoning as ‘an overdramatized issue’ just a couple of months ago, I am pleased to see him follow the Assembly’s lead in acknowledging the importance of acting to safeguard the health and wellness of our children.
“The governor’s announcement includes provisions which mirror two bills that address elevated lead levels in water, but we also must take further action when it comes to lead paint.
“As the sponsor of several bills addressing this issue, I urge the governor to consider implementing other measures proposed in the Assembly that target lead poisoning. For example, legislation to require lead paint inspections prior to home purchases and tenant turnovers (A-3611) would target home environments. Additional legislation that I have drafted would require testing in child care centers, facilities where parents take young children to learn and play every day without any way of knowing whether they are being exposed to lead. When we consider that many of the most vulnerable New Jersey residents are too young for school, the importance of taking these steps – in addition to what’s been done today – is painstakingly clear.
“By requiring testing of school water systems and aligning the New Jersey Department of Health’s standards with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we can address one source of lead poisoning that affects children, but there certainly is far more to do on this front.”