What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?

Signs of repeated lead exposure may include abdominal pain or cramps, aggressive behavior, constipation, sleep problems, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, numbness or tingling in the extremities, memory loss, anemia, and kidney dysfunction.

Why are children at risk?

Young children and infants are especially at risk for lead poisoning because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. A dose of lead that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child. In children, exposure to lead in drinking may cause behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.

Why are pregnant women at risk?

A pregnant mother can pass lead on to an unborn baby. Lead accumulates in the body, and over time it gets stored in the bones and can be released to the bones of the fetus. Lead can also cross the placental barrier exposing the fetus to lead.

Can I shower in lead contaminated water?

Yes, bathing and showering should be safe for you and your children. Lead cannot be absorbed through human skin.

Can I get my water tested for lead?

Please contact the City of Newark Department of Water & Sewer Utilities at (973) 733-6303 or by email at waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us to find out how to get your water tested for lead and your service line inspected for free.

A high dose of lead poisoning may result in severe abdominal pain and cramping, vomiting, muscle weakness, stumbling when walking, seizures, coma, and brain disease.

More information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

Where do I get a blood test for lead exposure?

The New Jersey Department of Health recommends that children under the age of 18 have their blood lead levels screened as soon as possible regardless of previous blood lead testing history. Customers may receive free blood-testing for lead for any child aged eighteen or under.

Free blood-testing is available at the Health Department, 110 Williams Street, Newark, NJ. Please call (973)733-5310 to schedule an appointment.

See the Health Department's website for hours and more information

Contact your doctor or local health care provider about a blood test for lead exposure or contact the Newark Department of Health & Community Wellness at 1-800-734-7083.

If I have a lead service line, how can I reduce my exposure to lead?

Purchase a water filter that removes lead, or pick up a free filter from one of Newark’s distribution centers.
Learn more about the Filter Distribution Program →

If you have a lead service line, register online to have it replaced.
Learn more about the Lead Service Line Replacement Program →

  • Always buy plumbing fixtures (faucets, valves, sinks, shower heads, hose bibs, etc.) that have zero-lead or low-lead content. Read the labels of any new plumbing fixtures closely.
  • Always use fresh, cold, running water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water does not remove lead and can increase lead concentration in water.
  • Regularly remove and clean faucet screens and aerators.
  • Obtain an NSF Certified home water treatment device that is certified to remove lead.
  • Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead and any copper piping with lead solder.
  • Water service lines are sometimes used to ground electrical lines. The wiring in your home or building may be attached to your water service line or elsewhere in your plumbing. If you have a lead service line, this can accelerate its corrosion. Have a licensed electrician check your wiring.
  • Be careful of dust from lead-based paint. Even though lead-based paint was outlawed in 1978, many older homes have not removed it, and it may currently pose a hazard. The most common source of lead exposure in the homes is from the dust of lead-based paint.
  • Be careful of other sources of lead in your home. Some household items such as pottery, makeup, toys, and jewelry may contain lead. Wash your children’s hands and toys often.