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November 28, 2022

Lead poisoning mitigation legislation proposed by Connecticut governor

Getting the lead out is the focus of legislation proposed by Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday.

The governor announced the filing of a legislative proposal that would utilize $70 million for Home Remediation Projects throughout Connecticut, alleviating the lead poisoning risks in children and put the state in line with federal guidance. Dollars from the American Rescue Plant Act would be utilized to fund the program.

“For too long, Connecticut has failed to address the problem of lead poisoning in our children, a problem that impacts most deeply minority families and disadvantaged communities of our state,” Lamont said in the release.

“Childhood lead poisoning has catastrophic impacts on health and development, including irreversible learning and developmental disabilities,” he said. “Two years ago, 2,994 young children had enough lead in their blood that the CDC would have recommended an investigation of their homes. Our statutes required only 120 investigations. That means thousands of children are not receiving the treatment and health interventions that they need. Connecticut’s standards for lead testing and treatment fall well behind the best practices and the time is now to take action.”

House Bill 5045, the governor’s proposal, would call for steps that would help strengthen early detection of lead poisoning with a gradual reduction of blood lead level that triggers notifications and home inspections. The reductions, according to the release, would more closely follow protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The city of New Haven has already adopted those guidelines.

Under the bill, the Department of Public Health would be empowered to perform more testing of children who reside in cities and towns where the most common exposures to lead are taking place. The changes, according to the release, will ensure those families of children who have unsafe blood lead levels get the educational materials they need, their homes are inspected and remediated when necessary, and children receive care.

According to the release, Lamont is seeking an adjustment to the fiscal year 2023 budget to help cover municipal costs that are tied to the revised standards. The program would also help property owners and landlords undertake lead abatement projects. Projects will be required to use local contractors to stimulate the state’s economy

Lamont has directed the state’s health department to create the proposed initiative, working with the state’s Department of Housing and local health entities.

The state is poised to receive $150 million that is to be used to recognize and replace lead service lines for drinking water over the next five years as part of the infrastructure bill, according to the release.

“House Bill 5045 proactively moves Connecticut toward doing a better job of protecting our children from lead poisoning and being better aligned with national standards,” Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said in the release. “The science and understanding of the effects of lead have greatly changed since the last statutes were adopted and this has forced us to face the fact that even low levels of exposure can be devastating to children.”

The bill will be heard by the legislature’s Public Health Committee at 9 a.m. Monday.

This article was originally posted on Lead poisoning mitigation legislation proposed by Connecticut governor