of New Jersey
WHEREAS, protecting the health of our children is one of the most important tasks of New Jersey State government; and
WHEREAS, lead poisoning is preventable and has irreversible effects on children and adults; and
WHEREAS, environmental lead can cause developmental disabilities, neurological and behavioral problems, decreased I.Q., and, in extreme cases, coma and death to children; and
WHEREAS, approximately two million houses in New Jersey were constructed prior to the prohibition of the sale of lead paint, and many children are therefore potentially exposed to dangerous levels of environmental lead; and
WHEREAS, dangerous levels of lead can be found not only in paint, but also in soil, water, and consumer products, and there is a need to educate parents and caregivers about that risk; and
WHEREAS, the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate (“Public Advocate”) has undertaken a study assessing the programs in New Jersey State and local government designed to protect children from residential lead exposure, which study has recommended important improvements in these protective programs; and
WHEREAS, the Public Advocate’s report describes that among 104 dwellings in five cities in New Jersey, a high proportion contain possibly harmful levels of lead contamination, that lead was present even in dwellings in which some lead abatement activities had ostensibly been undertaken, and that the dangers of lead poisoning are most likely to affect families in the State’s older urban areas; and
WHEREAS, I find the report of the Public Advocate to be thoughtful and compelling;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JON S. CORZINE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- The Department of Health and Senior Services (“DHSS”) shall, within 60 days, review its current lead standards, codified at N.J.A.C. 8:51, for the level of concern at which a child is considered poisoned in New Jersey and determine whether the State should lower its current standard.
- DHSS, which, as a result of the Public Advocate’s Report, already has instructed the local health departments to re-inspect the 85 properties identified in that report as at risk for lead exposure, shall report on the results of the re-inspection within 90 days.
- DHSS shall expand the use of its case management information database to all local health departments beginning with those local health departments in communities with the greatest magnitude of risk, and DHSS shall offer to all local health departments training in the use of the case management information database.
- DHSS shall, within 60 days, convene stakeholders to undertake a review of the desirability and feasibility of recommending prenatal blood lead screening of all pregnant women and all post-natal children.
- DHSS shall develop new, additional educational materials and make them available to local health departments, nonprofits, consortia, lead coalitions, primary care providers, and other lead education organizations.
- DHSS shall develop a targeted blood lead screening plan for children based on geographic information system mapping results. DHSS shall require all local health department Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (“CLPP”) program grantees to develop a neighborhood-level targeted blood lead screening strategy. DHSS shall provide mapping information on blood lead level rates to all counties so blood lead level screening objectives can be included in their community health improvement plans.
- DHSS shall, within 60 days, create a one-page handout on the dangers of blood lead.
- DHSS shall, within 90 days, review local health departments’ current practices regarding the inspection of all units of a multi-unit dwelling where a child has been poisoned by lead in one such dwelling unit. DHSS shall propose rules, if appropriate, that will require local heath departments to notify in writing all tenants in a multi-unit dwelling where a child has been poisoned by lead in one such dwelling unit. This writing would, if appropriate, notify tenants that dangerous levels of lead have been found in the building and provide: information on the dangers of lead poisoning; information that advises parents of children age six or under to have a child blood lead tested and where a child can be tested; and a one-page informational fact sheet developed by DHSS.
- DHSS shall identify which local health departments are willing to perform lead inspections at the request of any resident in, or owner of, pre-1978 housing if such person is willing to pay the cost of the inspection and shall make this information available to the public. The Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”) shall regularly review and identify other private firms or individual inspectors that will be able to perform lead inspections at the request of any resident at the resident’s own expense and make this information available to the public.
- DHSS shall review the current procedures for the inspection of lead poisoned children’s homes and the abatement of the property and shall propose rules, as appropriate, to mandate time frames by which local health departments, abatement companies, and property owners must ensure that the inspection, abatement, and clearance functions for which they are respectively responsible are completed.
- DHSS shall direct that all CLPP programs shall upload weekly to the New Jersey Immunization Information System the blood lead test results of all children screened.
- DHSS shall develop new, additional educational materials to increase awareness of sources of lead poisoning in consumer products including food, jewelry, and toys, and shall develop a visual aide that can be used by home visitors and others to identify non-paint sources of lead that can be found in consumer products.
- The Department of Education (“DOE”) shall make available to school districts, charter schools, and nonpublic schools lead education materials made available by DHSS and/or the Public Advocate for distribution to teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, nurses, and parents of pupils attending that school.
- To improve the timeliness, accuracy, and efficiency of the lead data match system, the Department of Human Services (“DHS”) and DHSS shall work together to enhance data collection and, if appropriate, utilize the DHSS case management information database to include a medical insurance collection field.
- DCA has published a proposed rule that would prohibit anyone affiliated with or paid by an abatement company from performing the clearance inspection function on the same project. After the close of the comment period, the DCA shall consider all comments received, and, if appropriate, expeditiously promulgate a final rule.
- DCA shall, within 90 days, review its monitoring of all certified evaluation and abatement contractors and, if appropriate and feasible, propose amendments to the work practice regulations.
- DCA shall review its standards for treatment of lead-based paint hazards and, if appropriate and feasible, propose rules that would allow for additional DCA-funded treatment options.
- DCA shall review its list of Certified Lead Abatement Contractors and update this list at least twice each year to ensure that the list identifies those contractors still performing residential abatements.
- DCA shall take steps to offer greater technical support to complete the application for the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Programs. DCA and the Public Advocate shall collaborate to examine the feasibility of simplifying the application.
- DHSS and DCA shall collaborate to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow the agencies to cross-match the addresses of lead poisoned children with the results of cyclical inspections of multiple dwelling units.
- The Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) shall undertake a review of the current training for resource family and child care youth residential inspection staff regarding recognition of lead paint hazards in connection with their inspection of homes and residential facilities for licensing purposes. Following such review, DCF shall, if appropriate, implement in-service training or informational sessions to assist all DCF inspection staff in recognizing and identifying lead paint hazards during the licensing and inspection process.
- DCF shall review, consider, and, if appropriate, implement additional in-service training for resource family parents on the topics of recognition of lead paint hazards, requirements regarding lead paint testing, and information regarding treatment of lead paint exposure.
- This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 29th day
of April Two Thousand and Eight, and of the
Independence of the United States, the Two
Hundred and Thirty-Second.
/s/ Jon S. Corzine
/s/ Edward J. McBride, Jr.
Chief Counsel to the Governor