Douglas, who had also come for bottled water, observed that the politicians served the corporations, not the workers. “The mayor himself is to be blamed. If it is not about downtown Newark, they don’t care about you. Downtown, that’s where the bank headquarters are.” “It’s going to be solved when people start coming into the streets and being outraged,” Lisa concluded. World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to residents at a water distribution point, located in a city health center, who expressed outrage over the poisoning of their drinking water. The problem has matured over at least a decade with a wide-ranging cover-up and corruption in the management of the city’s water authority by city and state Democratic Party politicians. Democratic Mayor Ras Baraka and New Jersey’s Democratic Governor Phil Murphy have downplayed the extent of the crisis. The city initially refused to release information about the extent of the danger. It was not until last October that the city, amid a lawsuit by the environmental group National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Newark Education Workers Caucus, began distributing filters to residents.
Blood tests have verified that a significant percentage of children in Newark have been exposed to lead, a strong neurotoxin. Even small amounts in the bloodstream can cause lasting damage, especially in young children, whose brain development can be impaired. Nearly a quarter of children under six in the city have tested positive for potentially harmful levels of lead in their blood, while 47.2 percent of Newark household taps tested exceed the action level for lead set by the Environmental Protection Agency.