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Lamont proposes legislation to fight childhood lead poisoning

The proposed legislation will help reduce risks associated with lead poisoning in children
Credit: AP
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont delivers the State of the State address during opening session at the State Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont has proposed legislation that will help reduce risks associated with lead poisoning in children and align Connecticut's standards with federal guidance. 

In Lamont's proposal, he included early intervention in instances of lead poisoning. 

Early intervention would include gradually reducing the blood lead level that triggers parental notifications and home inspections to more closely align with the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.

The bill would have the Connecticut Department of Public Health to require more frequent testing of children living in cities and towns where exposure to lead is most common.

Officials say these changes will ensure that families with children who have unsafe blood levels receive educational materials, inspection and home repairs for the children's homes and required care for the children with unsafe blood levels.

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About $70 million in funding will come from the American Rescue Act, which was passed by Congress last year to help the country's recover from the pandemic. This project will use local contractors and help municipal costs associated with lead poisoning and help property owners and landlords in vulnerable communities practice lead abatement before a child is harmed. 

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Lamont directed the Connecticut Department of Public Health to coordinate with the Connecticut Department of Housing and local health departments to develop a proposed 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,” Governor Lamont said. “Childhood lead poisoning has catastrophic impacts on health and development, including irreversible learning and developmental disabilities. 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.”

Connecticut is also due to receive $150 million to identify and replace lead service lines for drinking water over the next five years through the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill. 

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Jareliz Diaz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jdiaz@fox61.com


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