PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Gov. Tom Wolf is calling on the legislature to increase access to blood testing for lead in Pennsylvania children. The governor spoke at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Wednesday.
“Pennsylvania has the sixth-highest percentage rate for children suffering from lead poisoning and this is only the number who have been formally diagnosed,” Wolf said. “This is not good for the future of Pennsylvania, so today I am calling for the legislature to pass universal lead testing this fall.”
Around 30% of children in the state have been tested for lead, and about 4.6% of those children have elevated blood lead levels.
Wolf outlined other initiatives associated with creating a lead-free state, including:
Local Response Teams
Local response teams will develop a plan to care for children with elevated blood lead levels. These teams will be modeled after the Plan of Safe Care teams that were developed in response to infants being born affected by substance use disorder.
These will ensure proper notification from physician to the Department of Health of cases of children with an elevated blood lead level, a coordinated follow up with the child’s family or caretaker, an assessment of the source of lead poisoning, and a response plan that includes available resources and opportunities for elimination of the source of lead exposure.
The administration will develop training to get more Pennsylvanians certified in lead remediation. As of last week, there were 773 individuals and 124 companies certified by the Department to do lead remediation work. There are also 13 training providers accredited by the Department.
The goal is to identify resources to increase training in this vital area, especially in areas of the state where there is greater need for lead remediation services.
Resources for Families
The departments of Health and Human Service have updated online resources for families to access information on lead testing, lead poisoning and lead remediation. That information is available at on pa.gov/lead.