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Schools unaware of lead-poisoned kids

By Todd B. Bates, Asbury Park Press

Photo: Tom Spader/Asbury Park Press

Photo: Tom Spader/Asbury Park Press

New Jersey’s rules on lead poisoning have some large loopholes.

Health care providers are required to test children 2 and under twice for toxic lead, a potent poison that can cause a lifetime of learning problems. Nonetheless, about 50,000 children were not tested by age 3, according to the latest state annual report. A loophole: Parents can refuse the test for any reason.

Even if elevated lead is found in a child’s blood, the state doesn’t require that schools be notified. That can leave schools in the dark about which students have lead poisoning and may need special education or other services — findings confirmed by an Asbury Park Press survey of 27 school districts, including those with the highest percentages of lead-poisoned children in the state.

Lead poisoning — often arising from exposure to lead paint dust and chips in older homes in urban areas — can cause learning, behavioral and other problems, but is preventable. It can cost more than $12,000 a year for special education per child, according to one study.

“We have to do a better job” addressing lead poisoning, said Jay S. Schneider, a pathology professor and lead poisoning expert at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “We have to recognize that this is still a big problem. There are lots of kids who are being adversely affected by this, who are having their futures taken away from them. It’s just an awful thing and it’s unnecessary and people are suffering and they shouldn’t be.” Read more

Bill would require certified mold technicians

By Ilya Hemlin, http://nj1015.com/

Believe it or not, there aren’t many requirements be a mold remediation technician in New Jersey, but new legislation aims to change that.  

Mold
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

“We have people who represent themselves as experts – there’s no training, there’s not certification, there’s not standards,” said Sen. Bob Smith (D-Piscataway), chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

Under the bill, the state Department of Community Affairs would establish a certification program for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers based on information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The bill also requires procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities.

“Community Affairs would adopt rules and regulations about what training has to be accomplished, and then how it would be certified – probably taking a test and having a license,” Smith said.

If passed, the bill would require mold technicians to obtain the necessary certification within three to six months. Read more