Lead Screening for All Kids?
A bill introduced by Assembly Member Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D- Bell Gardens, would mandate lead screening for all children.
Currently only children in government assistance programs receive lead testing, but AB 1316 could mandate it statewide. The water disaster in Flint, Mich., as well as several recent cases in the state prompted the introduction of the bill.
“There is no safe exposure to lead,” said Quirk. “Lead has multiple toxic effects on the human body. Decreased intelligence and physical developmental challenges in children are among the more serious non-carcinogenic effects.”
While several products with lead have been banned for decades, there are still older buildings with lead pipes and paint that haven’t received updates posing a risk to children.
According to various reports, up to 7 percent of children in certain areas of the state have high lead levels in their blood. According to the CDC about 2.5 percent of kids under the age of 7 nationwide have at least 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter---a high level.
"As a scientist and chairman of the Assembly Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials Committee, it is important to me that we collect blood lead data for all children,” said Quirk. “This will make sure all kids have access to health care services for lead exposure. More comprehensive data will also help the state better identify where there are lead exposure clusters."