Governor Lamont Hails Final Legislative Approval of His Proposal Strengthening Connecticut’s Standards on Childhood Lead Poisoning
HARTFORD, CT (STL.News) Governor Ned Lamont is applauding the Connecticut State Senate for voting tonight to give final legislative approval to a bill he proposed (House Bill 5045) that will help alleviate the risks associated with lead poisoning among children and align Connecticut’s standards with federal guidance. The bill, which was approved last week in the House of Representatives, will next be transmitted to the governor for his signature.
“Connecticut’s standards on lead testing and treatment have lagged the rest of the nation for far too long, and I applaud the chairs and ranking members of the public health committee who championed the bill this session, as well as all of the members of the legislature who agreed that it’s time we make these updates,” Governor Lamont said. “Lead poisoning has catastrophic impacts on the health and development of children, including irreversible learning and developmental disabilities, and in particular it most frequently impacts those who live in disadvantaged communities. By strengthening these laws, we are taking an evidence-based, cost-effective approach to reducing these negative impacts. I look forward to signing this into law.”
The legislation includes steps that will strengthen early intervention in instances of lead poisoning by gradually reducing the blood lead level that triggers parental notifications and home inspections to more closely align with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2020, 1,024 Connecticut children had a significant enough concentration of lead in their blood that those organizations would have recommended a home inspection. However, Connecticut law required only 178 investigations.
The legislation will also empower 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. Those changes will ensure the families of children with unsafe blood lead levels receive appropriate educational materials, the homes of those children are inspected and remediated when appropriate, and the children themselves receive any required care. (More data about the prevalence of elevated lead levels in Connecticut is available here.)
In addition to this bill, the budget adjustment bill that was approved last night in the House and is currently under consideration in the Senate includes $30 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act that will be used for lead case management and remediation. This funding will not only help cover any municipal costs associated with the revised standards, but also help property owners and landlords in vulnerable communities undertake lead abatement and remediation projects before a child is harmed. Those projects will use local contractors.