As Delaware’s legislative season winds down to its end point on June 30th, lots of issues will demand last-minute attention.
One of the bright spots in a fairly dismal political scene is ongoing efforts, spearheaded by Amy Roe and Sarah Bucic, to better protect Delawareans from lead poisoning. This has taken various forms including banning lead paint, and requiring more care in removing lead paint films from structures such as bridges and water towers. To see some past reports go to greendel.org and search on “lead”.
House Bill 166 would require children to be tested for blood lead levels at the age of 2 (as well as the age of one). This is a no-brainer for reasons explained in this fact sheet. One would like to think that medical and public health interests would support this bill, but sadly this is not always the case. Green Delaware’s experience, over many years, is the Delaware environmental and public health bureaucrats are as likely to oppose improvements as to support them. So, legislative action is needed.
The action alert below, from Amy and Sarah, asks you to contact your legislators to support HB 166. Please Do! A good source of contract information for legislators is “They Represent You.”
We need your help to get a bill through the General Assembly this June. HB 166 extends the universal blood lead screening to children at age 2. The current law only requires blood lead testing for children at age 1, and Delaware’s compliance with this law is very poor (only 44% of children are getting the test). Please contact your Representatives on Tuesday June 11 and ask them to support children’s health by voting for HB 166.
HB 166 Talking Points:
- HB 166 Identifies Problems Early: Blood lead screening protects Delaware’s children by identifying cases of lead poisoning early, before symptoms are present. Even low levels of exposure, as low as 3 micro gram/dL, can harm the developing brain of a child and reduce their ability to succeed in school and in life.
- HB 166 Protects Children Who Are Exposed: By identifying children who are exposed, the source of lead can be removed from the child’s environment and the child can become eligible for federally-funded early education intervention programs through IDEA Part C. Removing the source of exposure can prevent the onset of more serious and prolonged exposure, and early education and brain stimulation is proven to enable exposed children to overcome many of the developmental effects of exposure.
- HB 166 Is the First Step to a More Targeted Strategy: Universal blood lead screening can also provide the data needed to enable Delaware to shift to a targeted screening program in the future. We don’t have enough information to begin targeted screening now, but we could if universal blood lead screening for children at age 2 is adopted.
- HB 166 Makes Sure Doctors are Reimbursed: The bill clarifies that blood lead screening is a reimbursable expense from insurance.
- HB 166 Makes Screening Easier for Kids: � The bill enables a finger-prick blood test to count as the screening tool. The existing bill is vague, and as a result, 70% of blood tests use a laboratory blood draw from a vein. The finger-prick is more convenient for parents because it can be done at the point of care in the doctor’s office, it is much less invasive for kids, and it gives very quick and reliable results.
A fact sheet that explains the bill is here, along with a map of recent test results that shows that lead exposure is a statewide problem.
Lead poisoning can be prevented, but our kids can’t be helped without the tools provided in HB 166. � Please reach out to your State Representative and ask them to support the bill.
We hope you can help us put pressure on the General Assembly to support HB 166.