New bill would increase funding for lead testing and treatment

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (WTNH)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Congressman Rosa DeLauro announced details of a new bill aimed at getting more money for lead testing and treatment. DeLauro gathered health experts at New Haven’s health department because hundreds of children a year suffer lead poisoning in New Haven alone.

“We need to know where the children are and where they’re getting lead poisoned,” said Dr. Carl Baum, Director of the Yale Regional Lead Treatment Center. “It’s not water here in Connecticut, its really older housing we have very old housing stock, and most children are exposed through dust in their home settings.”

He’s talking about dust containing bits of lead paint. Lead has been outlawed in paint for nearly 40 years, but the majority of homes in New Haven are far older than that.

“Which is why, last Wednesday, I introduced the SMART Child Act,” DeLauro said. “It stands for screen, manage, address, and remove toxins for children.”

That legislation would send $150 million to the Centers for Disease Control to help with education and testing for children. Children need to be tested when they are just a year old, and then again when they are two years old, because at that point they can run around and get into parts of the house they couldn’t when they were one.

Lead can also get into the water supply, as we saw in Flint, Michigan a couple years ago. 9,000 children were poisoned by lead in the water.

News8 cameras were with Congresswoman DeLauro last year in a New Haven when she visited a house and saw how easy it is to test the paint for lead. Not every house gets tested, however, so every child needs to get tested. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, let parents bring children in without a co-pay for a test.

“If the ACA is repealed, that goes,” DeLauro explained.

If it seems like that lead poisoning should not be happening in 2017, keep in mind that it used to be “lead poisoning” meant high enough levels to put a kid in the hospital. Now just a little bit of lead in a child’s blood is considered “lead poisoning,” because there is no safe level of lead in the body.


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