Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Bill Heads to Governor's Desk
SACRAMENTO - Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), along with Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and Assemblymember Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino) have continued their work to improve the rate of blood lead level testing and lead poisoning prevention for children with the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 2276. This bill is the combined effort of Assemblymember Salas, Assemblymember Garcia and Assemblymember Reyes.
"Millions of children are at risk of lead poisoning and need to be tested," said Assemblymember Salas. "This legislation ensures that we are protecting our most vulnerable kids from lead poisoning and providing the help they need."
AB 2276 requires the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) operated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to add risk factors such as a child’s residency in a high risk zip code and a child’s proximity to current or former lead-producing facilities, that will require blood lead level testing for children by medical professionals. In addition, CDPH will be required to allocate funds more equitably by updating their funding formula based on the most recent data for the number of children with elevated blood lead levels in each jurisdiction to ensure a more fair allocation of funds.
“Assembly Bill 2276 is the result of three authors coming together and combining their lead bill package into one cohesive and important measure,” said Assemblymember Garcia. “AB 2276 requires CDPH to revise its funding formula to reflect the most recent scientific data regarding childhood lead exposure, in order to more equitably distribute funds. In addition AB 2276 adds risk factors that require blood lead level testing when children are screened by healthcare professionals.”
A study from Duke University found that for every 5-microgram increase in blood lead, a person lost about 1.5 IQ points. Several studies have demonstrated childhood lead exposure has been associated with toxic effects on the immune system; which can lead to higher infection rates of COVID-19.
California ranks 31st among states in the nation for providing lead tests to 1- and 2- year-old children. When the State Auditor's Office reviewed data maintained by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), they found that the rate of eligible children receiving the proper lead tests was less than 27 percent. Without these tests, health care providers do not know whether these children are suffering from elevated lead levels and need treatment.
“Lead exposure silently steals away the aspiration of our children with debilitating health and developmental effects that can lead to long term and disastrous consequences,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “AB 2276 will create mechanisms to ensure that California’s children are receiving their required blood lead tests and related services so that we can protect and treat them before it is too late. California’s children deserve every change and opportunity to grow up without fear of exposure to toxic chemicals.”
AB 2276 will now be sent to the Governor’s desk where the bill can officially be signed into law.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.