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Calls from Newark flood 24/7 lead hotline now live in New Jersey

Posted: 4:24 PM, Aug 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-23 17:18:53-04

NEWARK — New Jersey has launched a 24-hour health hotline to handle questions from concerned residents about lead in their drinking water. Since the phone lines opened last night, dozens of calls have poured in.

"Within minutes of it being announced we started getting calls," said Bruce Ruck, managing director of New Jersey Poison Control, which is fielding the calls.

Doctors, nurses and pharmacists are answering the lead hotline 24/7.

A flood of calls have been coming from all around Newark.

"People are really afraid of lead. They want to know where they can get tested. They want to know where they can get bottled water," said Ruck.

At last check, lead samples in Newark registered at almost 4-times the danger limit. Although no amount of lead is safe, Newark's most recent public test results show a record of 57 parts per billion, which far exceeds the federal danger limit of 15 parts per billion.

Young children and pregnant women are most at risk for lead exposure. It can cause behavioral problems and learning disabilities in kids.

University Hospital has been providing free lead testing for Newark families on Saturdays, but you must call first to make an appointment at 973-972-9000.

The health hotline where you can find out more information on testing and lead exposure is 1-866-448-2432.