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Poll: New Jersey’s Lead Problem — ‘Overdramatized’ or Underfunded?

The number of reported cases of childhood lead poisoning is dwindling, but more than 3,500 new cases are still diagnosed each year

The disturbing reports of inaction over lead poisoning in Flint, MI, has caused many New Jerseyans to ask, “Can It -- or Does It? -- happen here?” Over the weekend, Newark confirmed with the state Department of Environmental Protection that there is lead in the drinking water at more than 30 of its schools. There has also been lead found in drinking water throughout the state.

Yet the state Department of Health points to major progress made on the issue; the number of positive tests for lead has dropped dramatically since 2000. But the bottom line is that nearly 3,500 more children in the state test positive for some level of lead poisoning each year.

Gov. Chris Christie has said the issue is being “overdramatized.”

Is he right?

  • I hate to say it, but he has a point. The lead being discovered in New Jersey drinking water is low level -- much lower than what was found in Flint. The problem there was very different. Lead in water and air only becomes dangerous after prolonged exposure. This doesn’t seem to be it.

  • The problem is that we know we have an issue -- its called aging water infrastructure -- but it will cost billions and billions to solve it. What we need is a concerted policy to address our infrastructure issues. Not just kick the can down the road, which is what our governor seems to want to do.

  • Do we know how widespread the issue is? We certainly know that there are children testing positive for lead. That should be alarming enough. We need to study and prioritize solutions so we eradicate this problem for good.

  • There is no need for a study. We have laws on the books that are not being enforced due to a lack of funding -- funding that was dedicated to the problem but continues to be raided for the general fund. Let’s stop with the lip service and actually have the state follow its own rules.

  • Shameful. That’s what the governor is for pocket vetoing new funding and claiming that the issue is “overdramatized.” Children are being harmed. It’s going to cost a lot of money to fix our infrastructure, but we have to get started. IF he doesn’t want to lead, he needs to get out of the way.

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