The Jersey City Council unanimously passed a resolution urging statewide lawmakers who represent Jersey City, as well as Gov. Chris Christie (R), to appropriate $10 million to the State’s Lead Control Assistance Fund.
“Jersey City is one of the 11 communities of the state that have a higher proportion of young children with elevated lead levels than Flint, Michigan and that sort of challenge deserves the state’s attention and resources,” said Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro.
Flint, Michigan is where lead in drinking water became national story. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency after discovering that infants and children have high proportions of lead in blood (h/t The Washington Post).
Research shows that exposure to lead can cause permanent neurological dysfunction and permanent cognitive limitations.
State Senator Ronald Rice (D-28) recently introduced Senate Bill 996, which “makes a FY 2016 supplemental Grants-in-Aid appropriation from the State General Fund to the Department of Community Affairs for the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund.”
New Jersey governors have reportedly taken up to $50 million form the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund since 2004 to place into the general state fund, per NJ Spotlight.
Although the water supply is not contaminated, with elevated levels of lead in Jersey City, possible exposure to lead could still pose a threat to the children’s health.
The Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund would help lead removal, provide education, training and outreach on handling lead poisoning, as well as providing financial assistance to households with lead poisoned children.
The council said copies of the resolution were sent to the office of Christie and the district offices of Rice, state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalotti, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (all D-31), state Senator Brian Stack, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (all D-33).