NJ Cooling Centers

When temperatures soar, Cooling Centers are typically opened to keep you cool in the summer heat. Find open locations here.

Lead Poisoning

According to New Jersey Poison Center, lead is a highly toxic metal that can cause brain damage and other serious health effects in children, adults, and even pets. Lead has been reported to cause learning and developmental disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing and brain damage. Lead poisoning occurs when lead paint chips are eaten or when lead dust is either eaten or breathed into the lungs. 

Homes built after 1978 are not likely to have lead-based paint or lead in their plumbing, however in older homes, lead has been found in dust, paint, water and soil. Lead can also be found in children's costume jewelry, food, dietary and herbal products, and even some candies made outside of the U.S. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms and frequently goes unrecognized. 

If you have an immediate concern about lead poisoning, call NJ Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 to speak with a poison control specialist or visit their website to start a live chat. Find local resources related to lead testing and remediation programs.

Lead Assistance Programs

State Lead-Safe Home Remediation Program

This program identifies and remediates lead-based paint hazards through interim controls to prevent elevated blood lead levels in children and pregnant women. The program targets municipalities in New Jersey with high reported incidence of elevated blood lead levels in children under age six. The target service areas of the State Lead-Safe Home Remediation Program are Atlantic County, Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Paterson (City), Passaic (City), and Union County. For more information and eligibly requirements, call (888) 712-5077 or visit their website.

HUD Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program

This program identifies and remediates lead-based paint hazards through lead abatement to address those units which have children under the age of six with elevated blood lead levels. The program targets 11 municipalities in New Jersey with high reported incidence of elevated blood lead levels in children under age six. Those target service municipalities are Atlantic City, Camden, East Orange, Elizabeth, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, Passaic, Paterson, Plainfield and Trenton. For more information and eligibly requirements, call (888) 712-5077 or visit their website.

Local Events and Programs

Atlantic County

In 2017, the NJ Department of Community Affairs awarded Lead-Safe Home Remediation Pilot Grant Program funding to the Community Affairs & Resource Center (CARCNJ) in Asbury Park, NJ. The program provides funding to qualifying residents in Atlantic, Monmouth & Ocean Counties. Funding can be used for preliminary testing of home, lead inspection/risk assessment and remediation via interim controls. Click here to learn more.

Bergen County

Home Remediation Program for select locations Learn more and apply here.

Burlington County

Burlington County has a list of lead poisoning prevention resources.

Camden County

To educate, screen, and case manage children birth to age six who have high lead levels. Call (856) 739-6544 for more information.

Cape May County

The Environmental Division of the Cape May County Health Department maintains 2 certified lead inspectors on the staff to respond to these childhood lead poisonings. Whenever a dwelling has lead contaminated dust, lead contaminated paint or lead contaminated soil, notification is given to the responsible party to abate the condition. Follow up visits are conducted with the potential for legal action if abatement has not been completed. Find out more here.

Essex County

Newark's Lead Service Line Replacement Program
Newark’s water is lead free when it leaves the city’s water treatment plants and travels through the water mains in the streets.  However, when it travels through the water service pipes that connect from the water main on the street to the water taps in homes, it comes in contact with lead materials in the water service line and the residential plumbing. The City of Newark is implementing several city wide programs to reduce or eliminate lead concentrations at the customer’s tap.   Learn more about what is being done.

Gloucester County

Gloucester County Department of Health offers free blood lead testing for any child age 1 to 6 years. Call 856-218-4127 to make an appointment. Click here to find out more. 

Hudson County

Home Remediation Program
Puertorriquenos Associados for Community Organizations and Hudson County are partnering together to provide Hudson County residents with lead-safe paint repairs of residential units built prior to 1978. Learn more about this program and eligibility requirements.

Hunterdon County

Hunterdon County has various resources and programs that can be found here

Middlesex County

Middlesex County’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) provides lead screenings for children aged nine months to six years, case management for children who have elevated blood levels, risk assessors, and more. To find out more about CLPPP, click here

Monmouth County

Various resources and programs are available through the Health Department. Click here to learn more. They also have Lead-Safe Home Remediation Grant Program with Atlantic and Ocean counties. 

Ocean County

The Lead-Safe Home Remediation Program for Ocean, Atlantic, and Monmouth counties can be used for preliminary testing of home, lead inspection/risk assessment and remediation via interim controls.

Somerset County

The Somerset County Department of Health provides nursing and environmental case management for children who are identified as having elevated blood lead levels. Click here to find out more.

Warren County

Warren County has various resources and programs that can be found here

Lead Poisoning is Serious

The effects of lead poisoning are very consequential. Lead poisoning can cause:

  • Seizures
  • Severe brain damage which can result in developmental or intellectual disabilities
  • Coma
  • Death

Even low levels of lead poisoning may be associated with:

  • Decreased hearing
  • Lower intelligence
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention deficits
  • Developmental problems that can make learning more difficult

Potential sources of lead contamination include:

  • Lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. If lead-based paint chips or turns to dust it is easily swallowed or inhaled and can just as easily contaminate clothing and toys that a child handles.
  • Candy, toys, glazed pottery and folk medicine made in other countries
  • Work sites like auto refinishing, construction and plumbing
  • Soil and tap water

To learn more about lead poisoning and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones, visit the Centers for Disease Control website and the NJ Department of Health.

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