Legislators Join Efforts to Introduce Sweeping Legislative Reform to Test Children for Lead

For immediate release:
SACRAMENTO – A coalition of Democrats introduced a package of legislation to address the findings of a state audit report which found more than a million children did not receive their required blood lead tests and services. This legislative package, which is in direct response to the State Auditor’s Report, Childhood Lead Levels: Millions of Children in Medi-Cal Have Not Received Required Testing for Lead Poisoning, will ensure that California’s children are finally receiving their tests and services, and that mechanisms and programs are actively abating and mitigating exposure to lead. Below you can find commentary by the coalition of Legislators on the legislative package combating the concerning reality surrounding California’s childhood lead levels.
Lead exposure and lead poisoning are associated with irreparable cognitive and other health impacts, especially to children. There is no level of lead that has been proven safe, either for children or for adults.

AB 2278 (QUIRK):
“As a scientist, parent, and grandparent, it is important to me that the state follows up on all of the blood lead tests it receives to ensure all children have access to health care services for lead exposure. More comprehensive information provided with each blood lead lab test will help prevent any child from slipping through the cracks. I introduced AB 2278 to improve the California Department of Public Health’s ability to efficiently monitor the status of children with lead poisoning and determine their need for follow-up care.” - Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward).
AB 2276 (REYES):
“Earlier this year, the State Auditor released a report I had requested relating to the status of blood lead testing and services for California’s children. This report confirmed our worst fears – that California’s children were overwhelmingly not receiving their mandated blood lead tests, nor are they receiving much needed services. This is why I am incredibly proud to introduce AB 2276, which will create mechanisms to ensure that the Department of Health Care Services and Department of Public Health are ensuring California’s children are receiving their required blood lead tests and related services. It is imperative that we protect our most vulnerable children from the developmental and health impacts of toxic lead exposure, and unacceptable that we haven’t done so to date. AB 2276 will be a crucial step in remedying this.” – Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino)
AB 2277 (SALAS):
“This issue has plagued underserved communities with some areas in the Central Valley experiencing lead rates double than those found in Flint, Michigan,” said Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield). “Today’s bill package will improve health conditions for our children by ensuring that everyone is tested and exposure to lead is eliminated.”
AB 2279 (C. GARCIA):
“Last year the Keck School of Medicine at USC found that the higher the level of lead in the soil, the higher the amount of lead in baby teeth in the area that surrounds Exide. There's no safe level of lead; it's a potent neurotoxin. This study provides insight into the legacy of disadvantaged communities of color like mine being treated like a wasteland, and how poor brown and black children have been & continue to be viewed as disposable. A study from Duke found that for every 5-microgram increase in blood lead, a person lost about 1.5 IQ points. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. This is a public health issue, even after passing AB 1316 this audit showed us that the Department of Public Health continues to fail us. The time to act is now. It’s criminal to continue to knowingly protect the status quo & poison another generation of children in districts like mine. AB 2279 will require the California Department of Public Health to test children under 2 for all 8 common risk factors associated with Lead poisoning, and get counties adequate funding to run their childhood lead prevention programs.”
SB 1008 (LEYVA):
“Since I was elected to the Senate, I have worked hard to address lead hazards in our schools, communities and environment. As a continuation of that commitment, today I introduced SB 1008 which will require the California Department of Public Health to provide an online registry of lead information on properties. This will help to empower families across California so that they can make sure that their children and loved ones are safe from lead poisoning and also allow them to make informed decisions when renting or buying a property. I am excited to join my colleagues in the Assembly in introducing an important package of bills that aim to tackle ongoing lead issues here in California.” – Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino)