Each year, more than 3,000 children in New Jersey are poisoned due to lead exposure. Lead is known to cause permanent neurological damage in children.
It lowers IQ levels, negatively affects academic performance, and increases all types of learning disabilities. Lead poisoning, even at very low levels, impairs development of parts of the brain that regulate behavior and mood and is associated with attention deficit disorder, impulsiveness, aggression, and higher rates of criminal behavior. Lead is so toxic that it is unsafe at any level.
In the U.S., the removal of lead from paint in 1978 and the final phase-out of lead in gasoline by 1986, resulted in a dramatic reduction in blood lead levels of children. As lead began to leave the environment, IQ increased and violent crimes in the general population went down. Numerous studies link the removal of lead in paint and gasoline to up to 90% of the reduction of violent crimes in the 1990s and increases in IQ of 5-7 points. However, the issue of lead is still prevalent in the environment in older housing stock, plumbing, and soil.
In NJ, the primary source of lead poisoning is chipping and peeling lead paint applied many years ago in poorly maintained housing. In 2014, testing found that 11 New Jersey cities and two counties had more children with elevated blood lead levels (EBLL) than Flint, MI.
Out of the more than 1400 homes Isles tested in Trenton, more than 60% had enough lead present to affect a child’s IQ.
Learn more about the impact of lead, and Isles work to prevent lead poisoning below:
Isles Advocacy Work
- Priority Action Steps on Lead Poisoning Prevention and Services for NJ
- Lead Safe Certificate Legislation Background
- Frequently Asked Questions: Lead-Safe Certificate Legislation in NJ
Isles' Webinars on Lead Posioning Prevention
- Beyond Flint- The Crisis of Lead in Older Housing (and what we can do about it!)
- The Elephant in the (Class) Room: Lead's Effects on Learning and School Performance.
- Cost-Effective Approaches for Creating Lead Safe and Healthy Housing
Research Studies on Lead
- Lead Exposure and Racial Disparities in Test Scores
- Autism and Autistic Symptoms Associated with Childhood Lead Poisoning
- Association of Prenatal and Childhood Blood Lead Concentrations with Criminal Arrests in Early Adulthood
- Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime
- Additional Studies conducted by the National Center for Healthy Housing
Articles about Isles' Lead Poisoning Prevention work in New Jersey
- Asbury Park Press- 4 Plans for Making Lead Poisoning a Priority in NJ (2.1.16)
- NJ.com- Why 11 NJ Cities Have More Lead-Affected Kids Than Flint, Michigan (2.3.16)
- Washington Post- Untold Cities Across America Have Higher Rates of Lead Poisoning than Flint (2.4.16)
- Mother Jones- Flint Probably Has Bigger Problems Than Lead Pipes (2.4.16)
- WHYY Radio- Lead Poisoning in Pa. and NJ (2.24.16)
- NBC10- Living with Lead: Investigative Report with Mitch Blacher (3.28.16)
- NJ.com- Prevention is Key to Combating Lead Poisoning, Expert Says (3.31.16)
- Epoch Times- Lead Poisoning a Significant Cause of Inner-City Crime, Says Researchers (8.25.16)