Ashanti Chapman Innovations in Toxicology Green Homes Healthy Initiatives: New Jersey Funding Project About one in five diagnosed cases of Attention deficit Hyperactivity disorder has attributed to the rising statistics of lead exposure across the United States. Very high levels of ingested lead can be fatal. More than half a million preschool children in the United States have elevated levels which require medical intervention (Lead Poisoning and Health , 2018). Young children especially are vulnerable when it comes to ingesting large amounts of lead in their body which can lead to permanent adverse health effects, such as the brain and the nervous system. Lead once ingested can be easily distributed to the brain, liver, kidneys and bones. The lead inside the bones can be remobilized and placed into the blood. Led tends to accumulate in the teeth and the bones. When assessing for lead blood levels, there is no safe range of detection within the human body. Any detection of lead in the bound can be deemed to be serious. Lead is a toxic metal that is found widespread throughout the earth as a result of contamination from the environment (Lead Poisoning and Health , 2018). Some of the routes of exposure can include inhalation of lead through burning material but the lead exposure for the young children comes from the exposure within their homes, day cares as well as public schools. There are many states working to improve the exposure of lead especially amongst children. These improvements are done by implementing new innovations starting with small organizations and programs to help save their community from the dangerous levels of exposures. This paper will focus on the troubles of lead in the state of New Jersey where there are many high-profile incidents pertaining to lead exposures, mainly seen in youth. In 2015 the state of New Jersey implemented a lead poisoning prevention action plan under green and healthy homes initiatives. The green and healthy homes initiatives are focusing on implementing full strategies to eliminate childhood poisoning in New Jersey in roughly 10 years. The prevention action plan includes a policy, practice and funding recommendations to acknowledge the risks, and address the causes of lead exposure stemming from their environment (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018).Lead is known as a highly toxic metal that can be a very strong poison, when there Is a buildup in the body it can lead to lead poisoning which is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Led can be found in lead-based paints, houses with old walls, toys, art supplies, contaminated dust, as well as gasoline products sold outside of the United States and Canada (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). Children are more prone to lead poisoning because they tend to put objects in their mouth, they are also known to move around the house touching lead and placing their fingers in their mouth (Lead Poisoning and Health , 2018). This is a very serious matter when dealing with children because lead can be very harmful to them seeing as how their brain and nervous system is still developing. Lead poisoning can occur over a period of time often from months to year and can cause severe mental and physical impairment as a result of the brain being the most sensitive to the lead. Lead poisoning has been noted to causes changes in the brain structure and functions which ultimately results in learning disabilities in these children, loss of IQ, speech development problem, brain function loss (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). Most of these symptoms contribute to reduced academic achievement behavior, and mood behavior disorders to name a few. Although there is progress of decreasing the risks of lead poisoning in New Jersey, over 4,800 children were recently identified with elevated blood lead levels, statistics not including the unidentified cases (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). So, the question is where does Green and Healthy Home Initiatives start? These cases are often seen in under resourced communities some in which includes aging drinking water infrastructure system, and aging homes with lead-based paint contaminations. Both of these are the most common risk factors for environmental risk for lead exposure. New Jersey has a plan to tackle the lead crisis by target lead screening resources most at risk census tracts using enhanced prevalence data and point of care blood lead analyzers (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). The green and healthy home initiatives will help fund the New Jersey Health Departments; in order to provide resources that will allow them to target screening in at risk neighborhoods. In regards to health outreach they will also assist New Jersey Department of Health in these activities to further prevent risk, and gain data access to those who suffer from lead poisoning, in addition to those who are placed at risk. Green Healthy Home Initiatives also want to increase the access to initial blood lead screening during health care encounters. Starting with pediatric practices as well as obstetric practices who are constantly serving Medicaid participants who may need lead analyzer testing, by adding the service to the practices professional funding. Increase Medicaid funding to support services to low income families and children to reduce lead exposure risk and address the causes and barrier of lead poisoning. Better track and understand the relationship between elevated lead levels, race and ethnicity, and socio-economic factors in New jersey. The initiative will help to identify the barriers and remove those that are seen in underprivileged areas that contribute to their risk of lead poisoning. Implementation of Annual reports that include data from those who suffer from lead poisoning in the underserved communities, the reports will allow providers to better understand the disparities that some communities face that can potentially lead to their risk of exposure. Standardize and improve housing standards and enforcement statewide, by making those who are renters or potentially buying a home, to receive certification (certificate of habituality) that the home is up to par and in livable conditions, paint is intact and lead risk are decreased (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). Another implementation will include determining the extent of lead in the water exposure occurring in New Jersey and update drinking water infrastructure to mitigate risk from lead. Institute and strengthen requirements to test and disclose results for lead in drinking water in residential properties. Many schools in New Jersey are required to have water reports; that requires the school to test for lead in the water and the data must be reported. These annual water reports implemented in New Jersey dates back to 2016 (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). All water reports must be documented and open and reported for the public. The plan is to also keep up with water maintenance service, and pay attention to chemical composition. In addition to securing a fund with New Jersey environmental infrastructure trust, in the case of repair, or maintenance. Increase funding for improvements to keep schools lead safe including remediation of drinking water infrastructure and other capital project in Abbott school districts especially for schools with head start and early head start programs. Increase lead pain regulation and inspection from home-based child care. Inspecting the home based child care will include annual visits of the facilities, and incentivizing those who are registered (home based child care) to be given grants, funding, and education to support addressing hazards and health of such facilities. All of the money given to those who are registered will strictly come from government or state funding. Healthy home initiative in New Jersey also wants to address the potential problems of having led in the soil (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). They want to incorporate standards for lead in soil and decrease risks. The initiative consists of making sure that the soil is of 80ppm as in California. There will be mandatory soil testing prior to selling to a prospective homeowner or renter. In addition, to the soil testing there will be lead remediation implementation programs. The lead remediation implementation programs are placed for properties with high lead exposure due to the deterioration of some housing with lead paint structures. Lastly, when it comes to demolition of housing there must be a lead assessment taken prior to the demolition process (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018).The Green and Healthy homes Initiatives not only focuses on lead prevention but they also extend help to those who are affected by elevated lead blood levels as well. Children with elevated blood lead levels are at an advantage when it comes to the public partnership that the Green and Healthy Homes Initiatives has with Medicaid. Most children are seen by public health nurses that make it their duty to follow up with affected children provide the families with further education as well as connect their families to resources that would be beneficial to their child as a lead victim. The public or private insurances are not billed for these services provided by Green and Healthy Homes Initiatives for the nurse case management cases given to those children.As a result of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative there has been a great impact for putting forth effort towards eliminating lead across the world. In fact, since the launch of Green and Healthy Homes Initiative project has been promoted as a best practice in the White House. The U.S. conference of Mayors supports Green and Healthy Home Initiatives by helping to expand the nations stock of healthy sustainable housing for citizens (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). In addition, the government is working towards improving homes with the idea of the homes being energy efficient, safe, and healthy. Not only has Green and Healthy Homes Initiatives had an impact on the U.S. government but a neighboring state as well. Maryland now has some results of altered landscape working towards healthy led free homes as well. Maryland is also working towards a policy that requires a lead dust test for any home that was built before 1978. In Maryland, there is now a standard for housing renovations to fall under EPA’s repair. The children are now required to be screened in preschool for lead and should be able to provide their results. Implementation of fines for those who aren’t following the lead safety standards. Lastly, the Green and Healthy homes Initiatives has given Maryland the opportunity to create a state action plan worth million for lead prevention state wide (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). The Green and Healthy Home Initiatives created success through led reform by reforming policies increasing their investments, implementing public private partnerships with different organizations at a state and local level. They improved infrastructure of housing by decreasing lead exposure and eventually decreasing the amount of health adverse effects as a result of it. If Green and healthy homes initiatives are able to keep the momentum going in regards to reducing lead risk and investing wisely into poisoning prevention strategies, they can successfully achieve on a statewide level and continuously to influence other states in such ways as they were able to influence Maryland. When establishing the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative there was emphasis put on working towards better living situations for low income communities, and minorities. U.S Citizens living in areas of poverty were more prone to lead exposures. In New jersey there were more black and Hispanic communities that are heavily affected by lead exposures. The lead exposure amongst these undeserved community triumphs the average. Not many understood the depth of the situation when it comes to lead exposure amongst young children. The elevated levels affected childhood development in some youth, brought forth societal issues, as well as long term health effects (New Jersey Lead Prevention Action Plan , 2018). We now know that through certain implementations low income housing, public building, schools, and making revisions to the environment, everyone in the state of New Jersey are being held for meeting the standards of a green healthy home initiatives hopefully leading them into a healthy led free future.
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