NJ considers devoting $10 million to prevent lead poisoning

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The New Jersey Senate will vote Thursday on a measure to provide $10 million in funding for state programs that protect children from lead hazards in homes.

Money intended for the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund has been diverted into the state’s general fund since 2004.

Lead-based paint in hundreds of thousands of older homes poses a threat to kids and can hurt their ability to learn, said Arnold Cohen with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.

“We’re talking about thousands of children under the age of 6 that are being poisoned by lead. It’s critical to get them out of those homes into safe homes. It’s critical for those homes to be repaired,” Cohen said. “These are dollars to do that”

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Despite concerns about state spending, Sen. Jeff Van Drew said it makes economic sense to fund lead-control programs to avoid higher costs in the future.

“We avoid the diseases, the conditions, the problems, which ultimately cost the taxpayer money,  and ultimately rely upon the social service network when a young person is not able to deal with issues adequately,” said Van Drew, D-Atlantic.

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