Englewood Signs "Lead-Safe"
BY GIOVANNA FABIANO
ENGLEWOOD — City officials vowed
to join the fight against childhood lead
poisoning Friday with an agreement to become a "model lead
- safe city."
New Jersey Public Advocate Ronald
K. Chen joined Mayor Michael Wildes and other officials in the municipal
courtroom to sign an agreement that calls for a comprehensive lead screening
effort in schools and a crackdown on landlords who fail to abate lead-contaminated
Englewood is the second Bergen County city, following Hackensack in October,
to sign the agreement.
Chen, who unveiled a report last year showing thousands of children in
New Jersey are poisoned in their homes every year from exposure to lead-based
paint, commended city officials for "taking such an aggressive stance
against childhood lead poisoning."
Approximately 81 percent of Englewood’s housing was built before
1978, when the national ban on the sale of lead paint went into effect,
Wildes said. About 31 percent of homes were built before 1950, when the
level of lead in paint was at its highest.
Englewood is home to 2,201 children under the age of 6, according to census
"I can’t think of anything more important than protecting the
youth of our city," Wildes said. "With the stroke of a pen,
we can save lives and make sure our children have a fantastic quality
Lead poisoning, particularly in young children, can cause irreversible
harm, including neurological and behavioral problems, developmental disabilities,
decreased IQ and growth problems.
Governor Corzine signed an executive order requiring state departments
to do a better job of screening children and cleaning up contaminated
housing after an April 2008 report from the Public Advocate’s Office
found that more than 80 percent of homes tested in five major cities came
back with elevated lead levels.
"Thousands of New Jersey’s children are being poisoned every
year in the one place they should be safe from harm – their homes,"
Englewood has already taken measures to deal with lead poisoning, said
Nelson Xavier Cruz, the city’s health officer.
In May, the Health Department received a $23,395 grant from the state
Department of Community Affairs to purchase a special gun that will identify
the presence of lead paint during inspections, he said.
The city will partner with schools and its health care department to identify
children who may be at risk, officials said.
Also on hand was state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, who stressed
that lead poisoning is not strictly an urban problem.
"This is very much a statewide problem that affects communities with
a housing stock built prior to the mid-’70s," Weinberg said.
The public advocate has signed similar agreements with Camden, East Orange,
Elizabeth and Irvington.
Reproduced from The Record
Saturday, July 11, 2009
by Michael J. Wildes, Mayor, City of Englewood
2-10 N. Van Brunt Street
Englewood, NJ 07631
for by Friends of Michael J. Wildes For Mayor, Amy Wildes, Treasurer
Allison Court, Englewood, NJ 07631