Pa. Lead Free Promise Project Approves Senate Bill

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Lead-Free Promise Project, a coalition of more than 55 organizations working to improve the quality of and access to lead testing and health services, has approved Senate Bill 522 , the “Childhood Blood Lead Test Act,” on Tuesday, September 20.

“Still today in 2022, 8,000 innocent young children are poisoned by lead each year – and to make matters worse, only about 20% are screened,” said Jeffery R. Martin, MD, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine. and community at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. “But this bill, Senate Bill 522, would establish what Pennsylvania law currently lacks, lead testing requirements that could save thousands of children from harm.”

Less than a third of Pennsylvania children under the age of two were screened for lead in their blood in 2018, and less than a fifth of children under the age of six were tested.

Lead poisoning can have irreversible and serious effects, including neurological/developmental damage.

Senate Bill 522 would ensure that all pregnant women and children in the Commonwealth have blood tests to test for lead poisoning.

“Today, we are talking about something very basic, the safety of a family’s living environment. Lead poisoning in children is an insidious threat that in too many cases goes undetected or untreated,” said Cumberland County District Attorney Sean McCormack. “My law enforcement colleagues view lead poisoning in children as an important public safety issue. The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, Pennsylvania Association of Chiefs of Police, and Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association have all endorsed the Lead-Free Promise Project, the sponsor of this event.

Pennsylvania leads the United States in exposure to lead; Pennsylvania has the second highest number of children testing positive for lead poisoning.

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To date, 8,000 children in Pennsylvania are poisoned by lead each year.

Senate Bill 522 was unanimously passed by the Senate in June 2022 and is currently awaiting a vote by the House Committee on Children and Youth on September 21, 2022.

Norman D. Briggs