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Proposed law would lower acceptable lead levels in children

Mar 19, 2019 7:15 am
Bethany Bump is reporting for the Times Union the state Assembly this month approved a proposal that would lower the acceptable level of lead in children's blood from 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood to five micrograms. The change would put New York in line with federal recommendations on childhood lead exposure. Lead is toxic, and can damage the brain and nervous system. It can slow growth and development, cause learning and behavioral problems, as well as hearing and speech issues. "Lowering the acceptable blood lead threshold is good policy, but it will trigger an avalanche of intervention demands on local health department nurses and staff," said Paul Pettit, president of the New York State Association of County Health Officials. The association says the proposed law would increase costs to local health departments by $35 million a year and require interventions for about 18,000 additional children statewide. The governor's proposed budget, meanwhile, only allocates $9.4 million for counties to implement lead programs, he said. State law currently requires children to have their blood tested for lead at or around one and two years of age. The most common cause of childhood lead exposure is dust and paint chips from old lead-based paint found in older homes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also considers children living in poverty at risk for lead exposure. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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