Spencer Statement on Efforts to Address Lead Exposure Among NJ Children

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Chair L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex) issued the following statement Tuesday in response to Gov. Christie’s announcement that New Jersey schools will be required to test their water systems for lead.

The governor’s plan incorporates provisions from legislation Spencer sponsored in the Assembly (A-3539):

“The governor’s announcement demonstrates an evolving understanding of this very serious public health threat. The steps New Jersey is taking will be instrumental to keeping schoolchildren safe and healthy.

“While monitoring lead levels in water undoubtedly is important, an effort to prevent the detrimental impact of lead exposure also must address lead paint, one of the most common causes of lead poisoning. In addition to enacting long-term abatement plans, it’s important to ensure that families searching for new homes do not unknowingly move into a lead-contaminated house or apartment. On behalf of children across New Jersey, the governor also should consider provisions in another Assembly bill (A-3611), which would require lead paint inspection prior to home purchases and tenant turnover.

“A child who spends all day in a school that’s lead-free but heads back to a contaminated home after the bell rings remains at risk for the adverse health effects associated with lead. Our state is headed in the right direction with the governor’s recent awakening on this issue, but this is a multi-faceted problem that demands a multi-faceted solution. With appreciation for what’s been done thus far, I look forward to further action.”