Proposed Law Would Require All California Children To Be Screened For Lead

Monday, March 13, 2017

Growing national concern about lead poisoning in children has prompted a California lawmaker to introduce legislation to ensure that all of the state’s kids are tested for the toxic metal.

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), would change the state’s Health and Safety Code to require testing for all children ages 6 months to 6 years.

Current regulations require lead testing only for children in government assistance programs, such as Medi-Cal and WIC, a supplemental nutrition program, as well as for kids who spend a significant amount of time in buildings built before 1978. That leaves many children untested who nevertheless may be exposed, said Quirk, who also chairs the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.

He cited contamination of the water supply in Flint, Mich., and hazardous levels of lead found in the soil near a battery recycling facility in the tiny city of Vernon near Los Angeles, as examples of why he authored this bill.