DefinitionNumber or percent of either pre-1950 or pre-1980 housing units
NumeratorNumber of residential housing units built prior to 1950 or pre-1980 in a geographic area (based upon 2017 American Community Survey data)
DenominatorNumber of residential housing units in a geographic area (based upon 2017 housing unit data from American Community Survey)
Why Is This Important?While all children in New Jersey are at risk of exposure to lead, children who reside in homes build prior to 1950 are at highest risk for elevated blood lead due to the potential presence of leaded paint. In addition, children living in homes constructed prior to 1980 are at risk due to the fact that use of lead-based paint for residential homes was not discontinued until 1980.
Major sources of lead exposure to children are: peeling or deteriorated leaded paint; lead-contaminated dust created by renovation or removal of lead-containing paint; and lead contamination brought home by adults who work in an occupation that involves lead, or who engage in a hobby where lead is used.
Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults. The first six years of life are the time when the brain grows the fastest, and when the critical connections in the brain and nervous system that control thought, learning, hearing, movement, behavior and emotions are formed. The normal behavior of very young children (crawling, exploring, teething, and putting objects in their mouth) exposes young children to lead that is present in their environment.
How Are We Doing?In 2017, New Jersey had approximately 930,000 housing units which were built before 1950. The number of housing units built before 1950 ranged from about 9,000 in Salem County to over 136,000 in Essex County. The percentage of housing units built before 1950 was highest in Hudson (45.2%), Essex (43.1%) and Passaic (35.9%) Counties. Ocean County had the lowest percentage of housing units built before 1950 (7.1%).
Also in 2016, New Jersey had approximately 2.4 million housing units which were built before 1980. The number of housing units built before 1980 ranged from about 21,000 in Salem County to over 274,000 in Bergen County. The percentage of housing units built before 1980 was highest in Union (82.8%), Passaic (81.2%) and Essex (78.6%) Counties. Ocean County had the lowest percentage of housing units built before 1980 (49.7%).
What Is Being Done?The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) maintains a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, [http://nj.gov/health/childhoodlead/]. This program has a surveillance system that collects information from laboratories regarding the results of blood lead tests performed on children in New Jersey, identifies children with elevated test results, and notifies local health departments regarding children with elevated blood lead tests who reside in their jurisdiction.
Health Program InformationAdditional information on surveillance and services related to the prevention of childhood lead poisoning can be obtained from:
New Jersey Department of Health
Division of Family Health Services
Maternal, Child and Community Health, Child and Adolescent Health Program
P.O. Box 364
Trenton, NJ 08625-0364