Exposure to lead through pre-1978 lead paint was not taken seriously until the past few decades. Once officials realized the permanent, irreversible damage lead can have on a child, they finally began to take action and help prevent lead exposure from occurring. Millions of homes in the United States are still lead ridden, and many families are unaware of the repercussions of raising a family in a home still containing lead paint. A common misconception is if you don’t ingest flaking lead paint, you won’t be exposed, but that is actually false. The most common form of lead exposure is through lead dust, which is microscopic and undetectable. Closing doors and windows creates enough friction to generate lead dust without any knowledge.
Some states have created funds to help expedite the nation-wide de-leading projects, allowing families to afford to de-lead their homes and keep their children safe without breaking their bank account. New Jersey was one of those generous states, claiming 7 million to 14 million dollars a year was going to fund a loan and grant program that would de-lead homes and rental units throughout the state. Recently, however, it was discovered that 50 million dollars had been rerouted from the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund into the general treasury. Not only is it disappointing that money meant to go to a great cause and help children was being used instead to pay government bills, but it is also violating the law. A law was created and signed by Governor Jon S. Corzine wanting to de-lead one and two family rental units. Recent studies show that over 5,000 children a year in New Jersey alone have a Blood Lead Level of at least 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). At 5 µg/dL , the child has already been exposed to a high enough level of lead to have been permanently effected. Levels this low are still considered sub-clinical toxicity, and can cause a loss in IQ, ADHD, autism, antisocial behavior, and developmental impairment. Many states are not setting up funds to help this dangerous situation, but even when states claim they are trying to help their children, it is hard to know for sure where that money is going. If New Jersey had allowed the intended amount of money to go towards lead removal, hundreds of children with current Blood Lead Levels could have been lead-free. Parents and doctors are becoming increasinly more aware of how dangerous the toxin is. They are being proactive in getting their children tested, but the government is not doing much to resolve this catastrophic problem. Lead remediation requires thousands of dollars that parents don’t necessarily have. Grants and funds such as the one New Jersey was attempting to implement would be a great stride toward making the nation lead free.