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Lead in Drinking Water

Lead has been in the news in the last six months, nationally and in New Jersey. It is a toxic substance that causes neurological damage, especially to young children. Lead in drinking water is one source of exposure. As indicated by recent drinking water test results from some schools in New Jersey and nationwide such as the widely-publicized crisis in Flint, some drinking water taps are testing high in lead.

To explain why this is happening and to put it in a broader context that considers other water infrastructure needs, the Jersey Water Works Steering Committee has issued a statement. Jersey Water Works has also developed this library of resources to help educate our constituents on lead in drinking water, including its effects and best-practice solutions for communities, utilities and residents.

The resources are organized into these sections:




New Jersey Lead Poisoning Prevention Action Plan

The analysis and recommendations contained in the 2018 New Jersey Lead Poisoning Prevention Action Plan provide a comprehensive framework for action steps that can be undertaken by the state, local agencies and other prevention partners to fully eliminate childhood lead poisoning within ten years in New Jersey.

These strategies focus on the causal sources of environmental lead exposure, support improvements to services to mitigate the impact of lead exposure in at-risk communities, including communities of color, and suggest investment in targeted, data-driven primary prevention efforts. Key policy reforms and investment in infrastructure would increase the safety of the environment, and risk-based prevention activities would prevent lead poisoning for New Jersey’s most vulnerable children.

Lead in School Drinking Water in New Jersey

New Jersey Future released this preliminary analysis of test results reported to and collected by the New Jersey Department of Education in order to help quantify the extent of the problem and recommend actions to ensure schools and communities are being provided all the support they need to remediate the situation.

Flyer for School Children

The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority sent this one-page flyer to all 11,000 Camden City school children and school staff, along with refrigerator magnets and the NJ Dept. of Health fact sheet, “Drinking Water: Lead”. For more information or replicable artwork for the magnet, contact CCMUA Director Scott Schreiber at (856) 541-5200.


Lead in Our Drinking Water

Jersey Water Works recognizes that not only modern, robust water infrastructure but also an informed public are crucial for the health of our children, our communities and ultimately our economy. In this section of our lead resource library, we provide resources to help educate on the risks and effects of lead exposure from drinking water. Click here for an introduction to the full Lead Resource Library.

Lead In Drinking Water (NJ DEP)

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has compiled resources for the general public as well as for school and child care facilities. It specifically addresses steps to reduce your exposure and whom to contact if you think there is a problem with your water.

Lead Resources (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled resources related to lead poisoning in children. It includes information about sources of lead and preventing lead poisoning, scientific publications, policy resources and training information about collecting blood lead samples.

Basic Information About Lead in Drinking Water (EPA)

The Environmental Protection Agency has compiled resources and provided answers to frequently asked questions about lead in the home and the health effects on children, pregnant women and adults.

Lead Resource Page (NIH)

The lead resource page for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences includes general information on lead exposure for both parents and educators in the form of FAQs. It provides links to additional sources for further information.

What’s In Your Water? Flint and Beyond (NRDC)

This report by the National Resource Defense Council analyzes years of EPA data on lead in drinking water following the crisis in Flint, Michigan to ensure that violations are taken seriously and public health threats are addressed. The report ends with recommendations to protect public health and upgrade water infrastructure.

Lead In Drinking Water at Schools and Child Care Facilities (NJ Department of Health)

This fact sheet provides basic information on the effects of lead on young children as well as ways in which they can be exposed at schools and child care centers. It also includes tips on reducing drinking water lead exposure as well. Links to information on certified water testing labs, blood testing, and home water filters are included.

Lead In Drinking Water (WHO)

This report by the World Health Organization describes the ways in which humans can be exposed to lead and the potential health impacts following exposure. The report includes health effects observed in laboratory animals as well as long term effects on humans. 2011.

Drinking Water Facts: Lead (NJ DOH)

This fact sheet by the NJ Department of Health provides basic information on how lead gets into drinking water, how to test drinking water for lead, and what to do if lead is found in your water. August 2010.

Lead in Drinking Water and Human Blood Lead Levels in the United States (CDC)

This report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes historical trends in blood lead levels as well as the health effects on both children and adults exposed to lead. It provides information on what control measures should be implemented to deal with lead pipes in buildings. August 2010.

How Lead Gets into your Drinking Water (USA Today)

A motion graphic showing how lead can get into your drinking water.

Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative (LSLR)

The Lead Service Line Replacement collaborative’s goal is to accelerate voluntary lead service line replacement in communities across the United States.  This site provides information to help communities facilitate full LSL replacement.

Get the Lead Out: Ensuring Safe Drinking Water for Our Children at School (Environment New Jersey)

This report by the Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center provides recommendations for states and communities to address the problem of lead in drinking water in schools across the nation.