By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council has passed legislation that requires physicians to test children for elevated blood levels twice before they reach the age of 2. The legislation was introduced to help protect children from the harms of lead exposure and poisoning.

The bill allows the Board of Health to establish rules and regulations regarding the lead testing of children, including special testing for high-risk groups of kids, and additional testing of lead-poisoned children and preferred methods of testing.

“Though rates of elevated blood lead levels have fallen over the last decade, Philadelphia’s rates remain far higher than the national average. This is not acceptable for the children of our city,” Councilwoman Reynolds Brown said.

Twenty-four percent of children in Philadelphia are not tested for lead before the age of 2 and 72 percent of children are not tested twice.

“With the passage of this legislation, Philadelphia joins Allegheny County in leading Pennsylvania to test children for lead when it will make the most difference for their future,” Maurice Sampson, the eastern Pennsylvania director for Clean Water Action, said.

Other cities have adopted this medical practice.