EWING, NJ -- Residents who may have lead-based paint in their homes can now receive help properly identifying and removing it to protect their families from the dangerous health effects of lead poisoning.    NJ SHARES, the state’s leading agency to offer assistance to low- and moderate-income families, is now accepting applications for the New Jersey Lead-Safe Home Remediation Program    

The most common source of lead-contamination and poisoning in children is paint and dust in older buildings.   Lead-contamination also can be found in air, water and soil. 

Since 1978, lead-based paint has been banned from use in homes, children’s toys and household furniture.

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“There are countless families throughout New Jersey that have dangerous lead paint in their homes which can pose a serious health risk but they cannot afford to remediate it,” said Cheryl Stowell, executive director of NJ SHARES.  “Under the Lead-Safe Home Remediation Program, we are able to provide financial assistance to families to clearly identify and remove the risk from their homes.”

Under the program, applicants must meet property guidelines and income eligibility.   Properties must be built after 1978; consist of one to four units; and have a presence of lead-based paint hazards.   Homeowners or occupants applying should be low to moderate income homeowners, or tenants with a household gross income that does not exceed 80 percent of Area Median Income in their respective home counties.

“The Lead-Safe Grant Remediation program can provide preliminary lead testing to determine if there is lead-paint on surfaces in the home and do an inspection plus risk assessment on the home.  If lead is present, residents would be offered financial aid to remediate the lead-based paint hazards,” Stowell added. 

For more information about the program, call NJ SHARES at 1-888-712-5077 or email: NJLeadOut@njshares.org.

According to the Mayo Clinic, lead poisoning can occur over months or years when lead levels build up in the body leading to serious health problems. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that lead can cause a range of health concerns, particularly in young children, such as behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, and even death in extreme cases.  Symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomach aches, nausea, tiredness and irritability.  However, some children may show no symptoms.

Funding for the Lead-Safe Home Remediation Program is provided by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to identify and remediate lead-based paint hazards through interim controls that can prevent elevated blood lead levels in children and pregnant women.  The program targets municipalities with high reported incidence of elevated blood lead levels in children under age six.