Congresswoman Gwen Moore Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Help Ensure Lead Screening for Children
Today, Congresswoman Moore joined Congressman John Katko in introducing the Preventing Lead Poisoning Act (H.R./ 3842) which will help ensure that children enrolled in both Medicaid and CHIP are tested for lead poisoning at the proper ages to increase the likelihood of preventing long-term effects of lead exposure. Currently, Medicaid relies on guidance that all children enrolled in the program must receive a lead screening test at 12 and 24 months, and between the ages of 24 and 72 months if not previously tested. However, it is not law.
The rate of lead poisoning among children in Wisconsin is troubling and in Milwaukee, the situation is even more disturbing.In Wisconsin in 2016, 5 % of children under the age of 6 who were tested had elevated blood levels exceeding the level at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends public health action. In the city of Milwaukee, nearly 11% of the 23,000 children tested had elevated blood lead levels. Nationwide, the CDC estimated that at there are least 4 million U.S. households that have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead and that there are at about half a million children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above the level at which CDC recommends action be taken.
“Lead poisoning has impacted children across the country, including in my district. Lead poses a long term threat to the health of children. Until we rid our communities of lead pipes and aging housing, we must continue to ensure that at-risk children are screened and tested for lead. This bill reaffirms the importance of regular screening to detect lead poisoning early for children who participate in Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, groups that we know are particularly vulnerable,” said Rep. Moore.
“Lead poisoning is a public health crisis faced by hundreds of families in the most distressed neighborhoods in our community and nationwide. Families deserve the peace of mind of knowing that their children are not being detrimentally impacted by the long-term impacts of lead exposure,” said Rep. Katko. “I’m proud to join with a bipartisan group of my colleagues as we continue to focus on this issue in Washington. This bipartisan measure will ensure that children enrolled in both Medicaid and CHIP are tested for lead poisoning at a young age. Doing so will help ensure families in our community and nationwide are protected from exposure to lead paint.”