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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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ANOTHER FIELD SHUT

Friday, April 18, 2008
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Another Hudson County sports field has been closed while its artificial turf is tested for lead, officials said yesterday.

Officials have closed Cochrane Stadium at Caven Point because its turf may be the same kind used in Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken and the College of New Jersey's Lions Stadium Field in Ewing - both closed Monday after the state discovered elevated lead levels there.

"We are going to err on the side of caution," said Jersey City school district spokesman Gerry Crisonino.

The Jersey City Board of Health is planning to test the field for lead this morning, and the school district is bringing in an independent environmental firm to conduct a second test, officials said.

The field is currently used for baseball by at least nine Jersey City high schools and some city recreational leagues.

League and city officials are meeting today to figure out where games will be played in the interim, said Ed Ford, assistant director of recreation in Jersey City, who writes a sports column for The Jersey Journal.

Meanwhile, Hoboken is moving forward on replacing the artificial grass at Sinatra Park and is considering reopening the field to teenagers and adults in the interim, if additional testing indicates it is safe.

At least three independent tests, conducted by the state Department of Health and Senior Services, the city engineer and the Hudson County Regional Health Department, will give a better idea of how dangerous the lead is, officials said. The first results are expected Monday.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services tested 12 fields throughout the state after discovering lead in a field in Newark. State officials said Monday that preliminary findings indicate a "very low risk for exposure."

Eddy Bresnitz, deputy commissioner and the state epidemiologist, said yesterday that while the most conservative approach was to close the fields, most risks could be avoided by watering the fields down to prevent lead-infused dust from being inhaled, and also by having those are exposed wash their hands before eating, so the dust isn't ingested.

Amy Faucher, whose 11-year-old daughter Blake plays soccer on the Hoboken field, said she is glad the turf is being replaced but would be comfortable having her use it in the interim. "I don't really have a problem with it. I would take whatever precautions are necessary," she said.

And parents can take heart from a piece of anecdotal evidence: a 9-year-old girl who used the Hoboken field twice a week for at least two years was just tested for lead and was found to have a very low levels, according to soccer league director Leo Pellegrini. She registered a 2.0 while anything under 10 is considered good.

In addition, Hoboken has chosen a new brand of turf and is collecting bids for the job over the next few days, said Mayor David Roberts.

The new turf is made by FieldTurf and was recommended by soccer officials and parents. It is currently used on the Hoboken Little League diamond, the multipurpose field at Stevens Institute of Technology, the Hoboken High School football field and at the Weehawken multipurpose complex.

When tested, it turned up negative for lead levels, according to Joe Peluso, Hoboken's director of environmental services.

The city is also looking into getting reimbursed for the turf, which will cost about $500,000, including installation. Roberts said the city expects to get the money back, either from the company that sold it, or through insurance.

Journal staff writer Carly Baldwin and Journal Sports Editor Angela Daidone contributed to this report.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 12:04
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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NBC has a special on Lead in Hoboken fields right now, good timing by Fulop.

Posted on: 2008/4/14 22:01
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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Kids show effects of lead exposure
Ordinance intend to get harmful element out of day care; community wants same for schools

Ricardo Kaulessar
Hudson Reporter
04/13/2008

LEAD-ING THE WAY TO INFORMATION ? City Councilman Steven Fulop pushes for the passage of an ordinance calling for day care centers to notify the parents or guardians of children of free lead testing offered by the state.
Mention the words "lead exposure" to downtown Jersey City resident Jen Greeley and her thoughts turn to her 2-year old son, Xavier - who had elevated levels of lead in his body at less than a year old.

"[My husband and I] were concerned about his health; we saw he was chronically ill, which meant his immune level was low, exposure can lead to developmental delays," Greeley said last week.

She had him tested by an expert, who detected the high levels of lead.

Through treatment, the lead level in the boy's system has gone down, which Greeley also attributes to having "a great pediatrician."

But Greeley knows that not everyone is able to afford, or is even aware of the need, to get their child tested for lead exposure. That is why she is joining City Councilman Steven Fulop to push for the passage of an ordinance calling for day care centers to notify children's parents or guardians of free lead testing and options offered by the state if they uninsured.

The ordinance, along with an accompanying resolution, was introduced at Wednesday's City Council meeting.

It will come up for a final vote at a future meeting.

Local parents are also concerned because of reports in January about the high level of lead in drinking water at six schools (11, 23, 31, 6, 27, and 25). Newspaper articles said that some administrators in the school district knew about the lead problem for over a year but did not tell parents.

Loyda Goldston has three children in Public School 34 in Greenville.

"The health and safety of our children in Jersey City is important," Goldston said last week. "In a number of cases including the lead in the water, parents are always the last to find out."

Goldston is a member of Parents and Communities United for Education, a local grassroots organization that wants the Jersey City Board of Education to implement several initiatives to ensure healthier schools.

Lead in houses, too

Lead poisoning is estimated to affect over 300,000 children nationwide each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Children and adults suffer from exposure to the heavy metal as the result of living in old homes painted with lead-based paint, as was the case for dwellings painted before 1978.

The exposure also comes from drinking water contaminated by lead as the result of old water pipes, or from living in areas contaminated by leaded gasoline, once widely used in the U.S. until the 1970s.

In older urban areas like Jersey City, the problem is more prevalent.

Those exposed to lead can suffer from a myriad of health problems, such as kidney failure, and sight or hearing loss. And in children up to 3 years old, lead changes the cell structure and chemistry of developing brains, which can create maladies such as decreased intelligence, impaired cognitive function, and increased hyperactivity and aggression levels.

A measure of lead in the body is the blood lead level (BLL), calculated in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (ug/dL). The CDC states that a BLL of 10 ug/dL or above is a cause for concern. However, lead can impair development even at BLL of below 10 ug/dL. In Greeley's case, her son had a BLL as high as 11 ug/dL but it has since gone down to 4 ug/dL.

Jersey City children screened

In 2007, a total of 5,697 Jersey City children were screened for lead exposure. Luckily, 5,592, or 98.2 percent, were found with insignificant amounts of lead in their bodies. However, the remaining 105, or 1.8 percent, had an elevated BLL.

The Jersey City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP), which provides lead screening for children 9 months through 6 years old who are uninsured or underinsured, found that 384 children screened through their program from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 327 had a BLL of 10 ug/dL or below, but the other 57 had BLL of 10 to 44 ug/dL.

More exposure for testing and prevention

Nilda Guivas, coordinator of the CLPPP, says that there are thousands of children across the city that still need to be tested.

"We have a very transient population, a large immigrant population whom we try to reach through health fairs," Guivas said. "We want every child to get tested because once the damage is done, you can't reverse the damage."

Guivas also agreed with Fulop's initiative regarding the day care centers.

Fulop said the ordinance is one of the most important he has proposed in his two-plus years on the City Council.

"I have proposed policy on a variety of issues such as 'pay-to-play,' but this issue is something that will impact for years to come," Fulop said.

Goldston and the PCUE is also looking towards the future, with several initiatives for the Board of Education to implement healthier schools: immediately notify parents of the timeline for testing drinking water in all schools and correcting any identified lead problem; create a Board of Education committee for school health and environmental safety of our schools; create an indoor air quality team following EPA guidelines; and issue semi-annual health and safety report cards to parents of children in Jersey City schools beginning this August.

Goldston said PCUE members met with the school superintendent Dr. Charles Epps on March 11 about their ideas, which Goldston described as "semi-productive."

"He did agree to post a report card on the safety of the schools, and we hope we can get that on the Board of Education Web site by the beginning of the next school year," Goldston said.

She added, "But when we suggested the standing committee, he did not agree."

At its meeting last month, the Board of Education approved a $34,956 contract for the hiring of Garden State Environmental, a firm based in Glen Rock, to visit all 45 school buildings in the district to test the water.

For more on the PCUE initiatives, visit the Web site: http://pcueforhealthyschools.blogspot.com/. Also, for more on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, call (201) 547-4567 or visit: http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/hhs.aspx?id=1446.

Comments on this story can be sent to rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com.

Posted on: 2008/4/13 14:01
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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Quote:

BrightMoment wrote:

All you have to do when visiting any doctor is to ask for a script for blood labs ( and ask them to include a "panel for lead testing".


Maybe my health plan had some weird rules against letting me get extra tests. (I definitely said I'd pay for the tests out of pocket.)

The sad thing about how hard it was to get lead tested (and, come to think of it, maybe this would be relevant to my health, not just my child's) is that my ob/gyn routinely was giving all pregnant Hudson County moms the full substance abuse panel.

I guess the ob/gyn's theory was that it's no use wasting money testing Hudson County moms for lead, because we're all crackheads, anyway.

Posted on: 2008/4/10 4:34
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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Quote:

alb wrote:
Quote:

DanL wrote:
Lead is a serious problem in Jersey City.

All children (and pregnant women), should get tested.

[,,,]

I tried really hard to get tested for lead while I was pregnant, to get a sense of how dangerous my house was, and I couldn't figure out how to get my ob/gyn, a public health agency or a "doc in the box" clinic to sell me a lead test.


All you have to do when visiting any doctor is to ask for a script for blood labs ( and ask them to include a "panel for lead testing". Some docs (such as my primary Dr Mangia) will conduct lab tests in their office that are sent out for processing. Hospitals and clinics will do blood labs as outpatient visits.

Posted on: 2008/4/9 17:49
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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Alb: I'm surprised you had a tough time getting tested for lead when you were pregnant. While my husband and I stripped several lead painted rooms in my house, before I was pregnant, I asked for lead tests at 3 different times, just to be sure. I had absolutely no problem getting it done at my primary care physician. You don't want to buy one of those over the counter test kits to get a proper result. You want to get your blood drawn intravenously (spelling??) to get a good result. Maybe find a new doc?

Posted on: 2008/4/9 16:21
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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DanL wrote:
Lead is a serious problem in Jersey City.

All children (and pregnant women), should get tested.


I think one thing state governments could do is just to encourage doctors to make lead tests available to pregnant women.

I tried really hard to get tested for lead while I was pregnant, to get a sense of how dangerous my house was, and I couldn't figure out how to get my ob/gyn, a public health agency or a "doc in the box" clinic to sell me a lead test.

Posted on: 2008/4/9 14:49
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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justin wrote:
Quote:

Although it should be, Lead testing is not actually a standard part of well-baby visits in many offices including my son's pediatrician's (NYU in the City).


I stand corrected. NY does require this at 1 year and again at 2. I guess I was jumping the gun when I asked since my son is not quite one yet, and she thought I was asking for early testing. So, that's great news!!!

Posted on: 2008/4/8 21:47
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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justin wrote:
...
I'm not sure that legislation should require it of daycare? ...That's a strange place for it. But, it should be required at all well baby visits for sure. Or, at least an option.


It is already NJ state law that all physicians and medical establishments inform parents of lead poisoning and encourage them to test at 12 months and then again at 24 months. Daycares often provide care for this age group and parents already have to fill out and sign a plethora of information sheets when enrolling in daycare. It's easy to add one more sheet of very important information. It is an excellent safety net for those who may have not gotten this information from their medical providers.

Medical personnel should still be informing guardians, but the numbers show that the percentage of of testing, of those children most at risk, is far too low. This ordinance was drawn up with the help of many experts in the field of environmental science, medical care, and even with the help of the City's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP).

It is clear that more awareness is needed.

Posted on: 2008/4/8 19:47
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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If you are interested, you can see all three resolutions here:

http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/uploa ... 0OR1%202008%2004%2009.pdf

pg. 20-23 for the Two ordinances regarding daycare centers and lead testing. Ord. 08-047 and Ord. 08-048

http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/uploa ... 0RES%202008%2004%2009.pdf

pg. 75-76 Res. 269

Resolution urging the JCBOE to distribute lead poisoning and testing information to its students pre-kindergarten to 1st grade.

Posted on: 2008/4/8 19:29
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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some comments/experience people have had locally with lead issues -

--------------------------------------

A couple of months ago I had heard about 2 children
in my neighborhood who had elevated blood lead levels. (Over 10 micrograms/dL is considered poisoning. After lots of research I learned that even low levels can potentially be harmful over the long term.) I instantly had my son tested, and his level came back at 9.

Even though we live in an old house, with some lead paint and live across the street from the xxxxx, I was still surprised. The baby was never in the rooms with the old paint, it wasn't chipping and of course we didn't let him put things in his mouth that had been outside. The doctor gave me a list of things to do to try to reduce his level and I did everything he suggested. I am happy to say that my son's lead level went down to a 6 in just 2 months.

I attribute the drop to the behavioral changes (although I'm
aware that perhaps the level dropped for other reasons, or maybe the first test was wrong).

The changes we made: shoes had to come off once we entered the house (this change also makes your home a lot cleaner!), frequent wet mopping of the floors, frequent hand wiping of the baby, limit the amount of crawling the baby did in front of the house, keep the baby's diet high in calcium and iron (which apparently binds to the lead and draws it out).

--------

My Son had elevated lead (17) -they now say over 10 is bad - when he was about 2.5 years old. We learned that this was a result of our own stripping of the paint off of the front of our brick row house. While we thought we'd been careful, but we had no idea just how insidious the lead was.

During the powerwashing procedure we washed our floors over and over and kept him off the floor. wiped down sills repeatedly. What we didn't know was that the lead paint (and anyone who strips their brick row house of paint is guaranteed stripping off lead paint even if it is under many layers of later latex) that had run down into the french drain in front of our door would come bubbling back up when it rained heavily - long after the contractors left.

We didn't realize we were constantly tracking minute traces (thats enough to hurt a child) into our house. When we had our house tested we found that there was even lead on the window sills a year after the building was stripped. We coudlln't believe this because we do clean our house. But what we found out was that during the powerwashing some of the paint was forced behind the window frames and as it dried over time the powerered residue would fall to the sill. I was even more shocked to find that their was astronomical lead on a thankffully inaccessible window sill in our kitchen at the back of the house a full 25 feet from the front where the stripping was done. This shows you how significant the accumulation from airborne lead can be. We never imagined.

No one will tell you this, and the city which should give warnings when they grant permits to do this thru historic does not. I can't beleive that they don't. IF I had known about the risk I would never have stripped my house while my child was that young.

So remember EVERTYIME YOU WALK PAST A HOUSE WITH SCAFFOLDNG where an older house is being powerwashed you are walking through a pile of lead and you're taking it home with you.

Kids don't have to stick their hands in a pile of lead, its a gradual accumulation. They sit on the floor they put their hand in their mouth, a little bit each day. My child couldn't reach the windowsills where the higher concentrations were, so Im' sure it was all off the floor. You wash it its clean you go to work, you walk through the neighborhood and you track it back into your house.

Its very important for people living in neighborhoods wiht older houses, especially where they are continually being renovated, to have their children's blood levels checked. Your doctor probably does it as a matter of course, but if you're living near a construction site you might do well to have another test done.

---------------

Posted on: 2008/4/8 16:07
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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jerseymom wrote:
Lead testing is a standard part of well-baby visits - something I've been hearing about since the day my child has been born. If you receive state-funded insurance, you receive reminders about the importance of lead testing as part of your child's annual exams..


Although it should be, Lead testing is not actually a standard part of well-baby visits in many offices including my son's pediatrician's (NYU in the City). I had to ask, and while they were perfectly willing; it is not standard. I was told, "Yes, we can definitely test. You obviously are informed, but no we don't do it routinely." And, while I am very happy with my pediatricians, I really do agree that this should be standard." So, what about the moms that aren't informed? I bet that there are lots and lots of teenage moms out there who have no idea and if their doctors aren't informing them, then we have a problem. There is lots and lots of renovation around JC. That means lead flying around the streets & in the air. I'm not sure that legislation should require it of daycare? ...That's a strange place for it. But, it should be required at all well baby visits for sure. Or, at least an option.

Posted on: 2008/4/8 15:20
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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Lead is a serious problem in Jersey City.

All children (and pregnant women), should get tested. Our experience is that the testing is part of most doctors early childhood check ups, shots, tests etc.

There have been some very insightful discussions about this on the jcfamily.org yahoo group which I would recomend parents of new/young children to join.

Specifically, even if your own home is lead paint free, you and your children can bring it into your home from outside. Note that with all of the rehab/construction in JC, much of the old paint that had lead is dispersed when powerwashed off brick buldings.

Some suggested damp dusting your home, window sills and flooring (without rugs) along with removing footwear.

The proposed ordinance promotes good, but perhaps our state legislators should be considering the same.

Also, JC should at least evaluate and consider banning sandblasting and powerwashing paint off of brick, instead requiring stripping with gels or paste as described here - Best method: Gel or paste removers

I am sure others know more about this that I.

Posted on: 2008/4/8 13:19
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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I'm right there with you jerseymom. You know my stance on having the state mandate and shove vaccinations down parents throats in one fell swoop, as if they are all necessary and all equal.

I do not view this piece of legislation as mandating or being forceful, this has more to do with informed consent. The guardian merely signs that they have read the information and know what is available to them.

There are many parents who have stated after the fact that, "if I had only known." Additionally, a lot of the Abbott funded daycares have a kind of family social worker, as mandated by the BOE, and they are there to bring these issues to the attention of the parents. They don't consider this extra form a burden and welcome it, if they don't already have it in their packet.

The rate at which children are actually tested is abissmally low. I was never made aware of lead testing by any doctor, even though it is State mandated to do so. Lead poisoning is a lot more common then you think and its effects can be devastating. My oldest is 5 1/2 and the first time I heard about the real dangers was this past September.

That being said, I believe very strongly in informed consent and value that this information is being shared. Whether you choose to have your child tested remains completely up to you, the guardian.

Quote:

jerseymom wrote:
While acknowledging that abnormal lead levels in children can be a serious issue (particularly in JC with the amount of older homes), I don't understand why this has to be a legislated issue.

Lead testing is a standard part of well-baby visits - something I've been hearing about since the day my child has been born. If you receive state-funded insurance, you receive reminders about the importance of lead testing as part of your child's annual exams.

I'm getting more and more concerned with the government's increasing role in mandating what they perceive I need to do to keep my children healthy.

If Fulop wanted to take on a health issue that is widespread and impacting our local youth - try obesity. And then tell me why I cannot find a safe and clean park in JC to take my kids to - or why decent, well-staffed recreational options are so difficult to find.

Posted on: 2008/4/7 18:19
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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...to inform parents or guardians that the state provides free blood tests for lead to [/b]uninsured[/b] or underinsured children.

jersey mom, it's not mandating anything, it's informing parents of the availability of free testing (because not everyone has state-funded health insurance with well-baby visits).


also (at the risk of pointing out the obvious a bit more), the comparison to obesity is not apt, because lead exposure is ..um... not visually detectable.

Posted on: 2008/4/7 15:52
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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While acknowledging that abnormal lead levels in children can be a serious issue (particularly in JC with the amount of older homes), I don't understand why this has to be a legislated issue.

Lead testing is a standard part of well-baby visits - something I've been hearing about since the day my child has been born. If you receive state-funded insurance, you receive reminders about the importance of lead testing as part of your child's annual exams.

I'm getting more and more concerned with the government's increasing role in mandating what they perceive I need to do to keep my children healthy.

If Fulop wanted to take on a health issue that is widespread and impacting our local youth - try obesity. And then tell me why I cannot find a safe and clean park in JC to take my kids to - or why decent, well-staffed recreational options are so difficult to find.

Posted on: 2008/4/7 15:06
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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Wow, that 2009 mayoral candidacy announcement must be coming up soon, the headlines just keep comin'!

Wonder if Councilman Fulop actually consulted with any of the relevant agencies in advance of this proposal (or this press release, more importantly).

Posted on: 2008/4/7 14:39
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Re: Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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Shame on you, evil Steve Fulop, for mounting another one of your selfish propaganda initiatives on the backs of our children!

Flood, Gaughan et al have more class than to try something like that!

Stop trying to... um... stop trying to.... alter our perceptions!

Posted on: 2008/4/7 12:28
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Steve Fulop: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing
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Councilman: Jersey City daycares should promote lead testing

by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk
Sunday April 06, 2008, 6:00 PM

A Jersey City councilman is pushing for daycare to help promote lead screening, the Jersey Journal reports.

Downtown Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop is expected to present an ordinance Monday requiring local centers to inform parents or guardians that the state provides free blood tests for lead to uninsured or underinsured children.

High lead levels can interfere with cognitive development in young children.

Free screenings for uninsured children between the ages of 1 and 6 are now available at The Jersey City's Children Clinic at 201 Cornelison Avenue. Last year, about 12 percent of the 384 children screened there showed dangerously high levels of lead, according to clinic director Nilda Guivas.

Posted on: 2008/4/7 7:57
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