Assemblymember Quirk Introduces Bill Requiring all Children be Screened for Lead
SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1316 to require all children in California to be tested for lead.
Since the 1970s, federal and state policies banning the use of lead in gasoline and paint have resulted in drastic reductions in childhood lead exposure. However, legacy lead – in paint, plumbing, contaminated soil, water sources – means that children are still exposed to this toxic metal. Given the ages of California's infrastructure, lead exposure risks are ubiquitous.
“There is no safe exposure to lead. 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” explained Assemblymember Quirk.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) administers the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Under the program, CDPH requires all children on government assistance programs and children that spend a majority of their time in pre-1978 buildings to have their blood tested for lead. However, that leaves large gaps in data of children that may be exposed to lead but are not being tested. To close that gap, AB 1316 will require all children to have their blood lead levels screened.”
"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. 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," Assemblymember Quirk stated.
AB 1316 has not yet been referred to policy committee.
Elected in 2012, Bill Quirk brings his PhD in astrophysics and career as an educator and scientist to the State Assembly. He is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. He is a member of the Agriculture, Public Safety, Revenue and Taxation, and Utilities and Energy Committees.