KRC Supports Lead Screening Bill With Amendments

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KRC Supports Lead Screening Bill With Amendments  Posted: February 13, 2006
February 12, 2006

Representative Tom Burch, Chair
House Health and Welfare Committee
State Capitol
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Dear Representative Burch:

I am writing to request that your Committee hear and support House Bill 117, a bill sponsored by Representative Meeks seeking to improve our detection and response to blood lead poisoning in children and pregnant women. The bill would require testing for an elevated blood lead level as part of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program; establish a statewide program for testing of at-risk persons and other target populations of children under age six years of age and pregnant women, and amend existing law to increase the fine for the failure to remove hazardous lead-based substances within 30 days of notice.

KRC supports the bill with amendments that would:

a) protect renters from retaliatory eviction by landlords who are notified of lead hazards and fail to correct them,

b) change the phrase "risk assessment" to "risk characterization" in order to distinguish the investigation from assessment of the risks discovered;

c) empower the cabinet to seek injunctive relief to compel remediation of lead hazards rather than merely imposing fines or determining a dwelling unfit for habitation; and

d) define "elevated blood lead levels" as any blood lead level at or above 1 microgram per deciliter (ug/dL), rather than 10.

Recent peer-reviewed health studies indicate that the current action limit (10 ug/dL) is not protective of the health of children. According to the December 2005 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, Reduced Intellectual Development in Children With Prenatal Lead Exposure, fully half of the harmful effects of lead on child IQ occurred when third trimester blood lead levels increased from 1 to 6 micrograms per deciliter, well below current action levels.

"When maternal BPb reached current Mexican and US action limits for children and pregnant women (10 ug/dL), a majority of the adverse consequences on later child IQ associated with lead in the measured range had already occurred. If we continue to accept the current action limit, we also accept that most of the "damage" to the IQ of children associated with third trimester lead exposure in our sample is permissible".

I hope that the Committee will take action in the bill, with these recommended amendments, in order to allow for more timely identification of infants and children who are at risk for lead poisoning, in order to allow for medical interdiction and elimination of lead exposure sources in order to avoid permanent damage to their health and quality of life.

Tom FitzGerald

cc: Representative Meeks

By Kentucky Resources Council on 02/12/2006 5:32 PM
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