Childhood Lead Exposure Prevention (CLEP)

The Hudson Regional Health Commission conducts environmental intervention for lead-burdened children through interlocal agreements with the eleven municipalities of Bayonne, East Newark, Guttenberg, Harrison, Hoboken, Kearny, North Bergen, Secaucus, Union City, Weehawken, and West New York.

Environmental intervention includes assessment of the lead content in paint using an X-ray Fluorescence Analyzer (XRF) and assessment of the lead content of dust through laboratory analysis. In addition, an interview of the parent or guardian is conducted to determine other potential sources of lead exposure. At the conclusion of the environmental intervention investigation, the Commission makes recommendations to the local health department to address any hazards identified.

Homes built before 1978 may have some lead-based paint; those built before 1950 often have the highest levels of lead-based paint. Lead in the home can also come from solder or plumbing fixtures, especially in plumbing installed before 1930. According to 2000 US Census Bureau data, in Hudson County, 52% of housing units were built before 1950. This represents the highest percentage of oldest housing in New Jersey, as compared to the statewide average of 30%.

Other sources of lead exposure may come from contaminated consumer products imported from certain regions of the world, such as glazed ceramic pottery, spices, candy, cosmetics, amulets, charms, and toys.

In New Jersey, children should receive a blood test for lead at 12 and 24 months. Any child under 6 years old should also receive a test if they have not already done so or if it is suspected they may have been exposed to lead. Screening can be conducted by private health care providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, or by the Jersey City Health Department which also provides Nurse Case Management services for all lead-burdened children in Hudson County.