Legislation to Improve Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Case Management Heads to Governor’s Desk

Senator Hueso’s bill requires more detailed and transparent reporting from the State
August 30, 2018

Sacramento, CA – August 30, 2018 – Senator Ben Hueso’s (D-San Diego) childhood lead poisoning prevention legislation, Senate Bill No. 1097, today received final approval from the State Legislature and is headed to the Governor’s desk for action. The bill, which was approved unanimously by both houses, would impose greater reporting requirements on the State of California with regards to childhood lead exposure, a critical step in ensuring appropriate case management data related to children who have been exposed to lead.

SB 1097 would instruct the California Department of Public Health, when preparing its biennial report describing the effectiveness of case management efforts related to lead poisoning in children, to include specified information for each county, including the number of children tested for lead poisoning and the sources of lead. The bill would additionally require that the Department post the report on its website.

Providing this information and offering an easy way to access it will help make sure localities are providing continuous and adequate levels of case management in relation to the number of children tested for lead exposure and those found to have high levels of lead in their blood.

“It is imperative that children who have been exposed to lead are afforded the proper case management,” said Senator Hueso. “This bill will help California better understand childhood lead levels, lead hazards, and the effectiveness of lead abatement.”

The State Department of Public Health serves as the state entity responsible for overseeing the Lead Poisoning and Prevention Program, which was established in 1991 and tasked with reducing lead exposure, increasing the number of children assessed and tested for lead poisoning, and identifying and abating exposure to lead. Despite this mandate, in 2000 the bill’s sponsor, the Environmental Working Group, found that between 1992 and 1998, the State failed to identify, test, or provide care to an estimated 200,000 lead poisoned children aged 1-5. The organization’s current analysis of 2013 data, which covers just one year and a smaller range, suggests little or no improvement.

“These findings are shocking and illustrate how vitally important it is that we receive more detailed and transparent reporting from the State in order to prevent and properly handle future cases of lead poisoning,” said Senator Hueso.