The issue of lead exposure is now a national issue after the lead-contamination water crisis in Flint, Michigan, grabbed the spotlight.

Dmitry Kalinovsky, ThinkStock
Dmitry Kalinovsky, ThinkStock

In New Jersey, however, most lead poisoning is a result of lead-based paint in old homes, not water.

Assemblywomen Elizabeth Maher Muoio, D-Mercer, and L. Grace Spencer, D-Essex, have introduced new legislation that would require lead paint inspections during home sales and rental turnovers in an effort to protect more New Jerseyans from the effects of lead exposure.

"We definitely have a lead issue here in New Jersey," Muoio said. "We have 11 communities with higher lead infection levels than in Flint, Michigan."

The bill would exempt homes that would were built during or after 1978, because that is when the use of lead-based paint became prohibited.

"It's more of a problem in areas with aging housing stock, and we certainly have large numbers of those areas here in New Jersey," Muoio said. "Part of our effort's to shift the focus from treatment towards prevention."

Rental properties that have been certified to be free of lead-based paint are also exempt.

Lastly, the bill requires the Department of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Department of Health, to establish a statewide educational program for tenants, property owners, real estate agents, insurers and local building officials about the nature of lead hazards, the importance of lead hazard control and mitigation, and the their responsibilities under the law.

"This is one of the most crucial steps we can take to decisively put an end to the pervasive threat of lead in our home environments," Muoio said. "By mandating inspections on all home sales or rental turnovers, we can systematically remove this threat once and for all."

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