EDISON - An alarming report is shining a light on a decades-old problem that doesn't seem to be going away.
Lead poisoning is more prevalent in a handful of New Jersey towns than it is in Flint, Michigan, where the contamination is blamed on a bad water system. Kids in New Jersey are also being poisoned by lead.
"It’s very alarming… what's happening in New Jersey to children being exposed year after year to hazardous levels of paint,” says Elyse Pivnick, director of environmental health for community advocacy group Isles, Inc.
Pivnick used recent Department of Health statistics to determine that 11 New Jersey towns have a higher percentage of kids with elevated lead levels in their blood than Flint does. The culprit is not water, but lead paint, which was banned years ago, but is still layering the insides of many older Garden State homes.
Lead poisoning can lead to developmental delays and learning disabilities in those children. Isles is hoping to use the situation in Michigan to educate families and lawmakers, as well as push for laws that would expand and enforce home testing requirements and fund remediation in homes across New Jersey.
Lead-based paints were banned in the 1970s.
Advocates say you can test your own home or apartment by using a lead testing kit found at most local hardware stores.
However, the clean is not cheap, coming in at thousands of dollars.