The New Jersey Department of Health is recommending that Newark residents with lead service lines use bottled water for cooking, drinking and mixing powdered infant formula.
“The bottled water recommendation is especially important for children under the age of six, pregnant women, and for mixing powdered baby formula. These populations are especially at risk for harmful health effects from lead exposure. Infants and children are the most sensitive since they absorb more lead into their bodies than adults and are more susceptible to its effects on brain development,” the health department told NJBIZ in a statement.
Mayor Ras Baraka’s office said late Tuesday that follow up test results provided on Aug. 9 have shown a small sample of water filters (2 of 3) provided to the City of Newark may not be removing lead to the low levels expected by city, state and federal officials.
“At this time, the city is aware of only two residences where water filters are not working as expected. Out of an abundance of caution, the city is notifying residents that some filters may not be working as expected. The city will continue to test filters and filtered water to assess why the water filters in those two homes were not working as expected.”
The mayor’s office said that until this additional testing is completed, residents in the Pequannock service area who have lead service lines are advised to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula.
“Pregnant women and children less than six years of age should be tested for lead. State law requires children to be tested for lead at ages one and two. Children three to five years of age also should be tested if they have not been screened before,” the health department said.
In addition, the city strongly encourages residents to run their water – which includes showering, flushing toilets and washing dishes – in order to help coat the pipes and allow the new corrosion control treatment to continue optimizing.
The mayor’s office urged residents to call the Department of Water and Sewer Utilities at (973) 733-6303 or visit www.NewarkLeadServiceLine.com to find out how to get your water tested for lead at no cost, get your child’s blood tested free-of-charge and register for Lead Service Line Replacement.
For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home or building and the health effects of lead, visit the EPA’s website or contact your health care provider. Residents may also contact the Department of Health and Community Wellness at (973) 733-5323 about free blood testing for children under six.