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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 13, 2018 04:56 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker and Sen. John T. Yudichak
To: All Senate members
Subject: Universal Lead Testing for Children
In the near future, we plan to re-introduce legislation that we sponsored last session (SB 1270). Our bill seeks to ensure that all pregnant women and all children in Pennsylvania receive blood tests to detect lead poisoning.

As you may know, exposure to lead is especially harmful to children during early formative years. Effects of lead poisoning are irreversible and severe, including neurological and developmental disabilities. No level of lead is safe for children, and symptoms may not present themselves until it is too late.

Based on the Department of Health’s most recent Childhood Lead Surveillance Annual Report, only 28% of Pennsylvania children under the age of two were screened for blood lead levels in 2015. However, testimony presented at a recent public hearing of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee informed us that ALL children may be at risk—based on exposure in their homes or relatives’ homes, in care and educational facilities, or in playgrounds, among other areas.

Recent discussions and research demonstrate that universal lead testing is a practical and effective protective measure to reduce instances of lead poisoning. Accordingly, our legislation seeks to ensure that all children at ages one and two, as well as pregnant women, are tested.

Last session, SB 1270 was cosponsored by Senators McGarrigle, Fontana, Yaw, Killion, Rafferty, Hughes, Costa, Brewster, Browne, Farnese, Vulakovich, K. Ward and Sabatina.

A number of other states as well as Washington D.C. have already implemented similar laws, and it is important that we act to do the same. We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this measure.

Introduced as SB312