|Posted:||December 29, 2020 01:46 PM|
|From:||Representative Angel Cruz|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Increasing Blood Lead Tests in Young Children|
|Current law requires childhood lead testing only for children receiving federal Medicaid benefits. While federal guidance recommends testing all children living in high-risk areas, many parts of the country fall far short of these recommendations with little enforcement of the rule when testing is required. A recent study by the Public Institute of Health in California found that more than 80 percent of children with lead-poisoning are unidentified in some states, with most states missing more than half of all childhood lead-poisoning cases.
In recognition of these gaps, I will be re-introducing legislation that will require all children under the age of six to be tested for elevated lead levels in the blood. Specifically, the bill would require all children to receive a screening at 12 months of age and 24 months of age, with children determined by the Department of Health as high risk receiving annual screenings until they are six years of age. The bill would further require health insurers to provide coverage for the testing and services related to lead-screening for expectant mothers and children under the age of six.
This legislation has become even more critical during the pandemic as families delay pediatric appointments, and COVID-related school and child care closures cause at-risk children to spend more time than ever in the place where most exposures happen: the home.
I hope you will join me in helping Pennsylvania children stay safe by ensuring that lead poisoning is detected before a child is affected by its long-lasting adverse health impacts.
Introduced as HB749