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University Hospital Offers Free Lead Screenings Amid Newark Water Crisis

August 17, 2019 - 4:59 pm
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NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) — A hospital in Newark offered lead screenings Saturday as the city continues to deal with the problem of lead in the water.

University Hospital will also offer the free screenings to residents affected by the lead crisis on Saturdays over the next few weeks.

Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the president of University Hospital, urged people to come down for the screenings. He said lead is particularly harmful to children.

Meanwhile, Newark's large-scale bottled water distribution is continuing as officials try to understand the failure of two filters intended to eliminate lead from water.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which earlier called for the water distribution, said Friday that researchers are meeting with city and state officials "on a daily basis" to assess and provide help on the issue.

The EPA says its scientists have helped local officials come up with "a robust sampling plan" to provide representative results about the occurrence of lead in the Pequannock service area.

The city was to begin the first round of sampling Friday, said the agency, which said it intends to put "an additional team of experts on the ground" in Newark as early as next week.

It remains unclear how much longer residents in about 14,000 households will have to rely on bottled water, NJ.com reported .

"We just started giving out water to make sure people were OK -- precautionary measures -- until we find out what's going on," Mayor Ras Baraka said in a video message posted Thursday.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the city last year over high lead levels, is seeking an injunction ordering Newark to also provide water to other households in another service area that include pregnant women or young children or both.