Combatting Lead Poisoning in Our Communities

April 27, 2022

Lead poisoning, particularly among minority children, continues to be a serious public health problem, and bipartisan legislation passed by the House of Representatives this week looks to mitigate this issue with stepped up identification and treatment of cases.

HB 5045

Specifically the bill (HB 5045) will use federal funding to help address the lead poisoning crisis by:

✅ Lowering thresholds for blood levels at which health care institutions and clinical laboratories must report cases to the Department of Public Health (DPH) and local health departments, which then must take certain actions

✅ Informing parents about a child’s eligibility for Birth-to-Three, and lead poisoning dangers and risk reduction, as well as lead abatement laws

✅ Conducting epidemiological investigations of the source of a person’s lead poisoning

✅ Conducting on-site inspections and remediation for children with lead poisoning by local health directors

✅ Requiring primary care providers to conduct annual lead testing for children ages 36 to 72 months who have been determined by DPH to be at a higher risk of lead exposure

✅ Requiring DSS to seek federal approval to amend the state Medicaid plan to add services deemed necessary to address the health effects of high childhood lead blood levels

Combatting lead poisoning is a long-term challenge, so the legislation also requires the DPH commissioner to convene a working group to recommend necessary legislative changes in the future on various lead poisoning prevention and treatment issues.