Young children in 11 cities and two counties in New Jersey have higher levels of lead in their blood than children in Flint, Michigan, where a water contamination crisis has grabbed national attention.
Those localities in New Jersey were Irvington, Trenton, Newark, Paterson, Plainfield, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Atlantic City, New Brunswick and Passaic, plus Cumberland and Salem counties.
There were more than 3,000 new cases in New Jersey of children under 6 with elevated lead levels in 2015, bringing the total to around 225,000 since 2000, said Elyse Pivnick, director of environmental health for Isles Inc. New Jersey’s exposure is linked to lead paint in homes, not water supplies.
“Because of Flint, Michigan, most of the world now knows lead in water can poison children,” Pivnick said. “The deplorable water scandal is an important story, but it is just as tragic and alarming that thousands of children in New Jersey continue to be exposed to lead year after year.”