Senate Health Committee Passes Leyva Bill Protecting Kids from Dangerous Lead Exposure

SB 1041 Helps To Promptly Diagnose & Treat Children

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

SACRAMENTO – With unanimous support, the Senate Health Committee today approved SB 1041 by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that would help ensure that children at risk of lead exposure receive blood lead screening tests.

Cosponsored by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations, SB 1041 requires the California Department of Public Health (DPH) to annually notify health care providers and, in turn, parents about the risks and effects of lead exposure and of the requirement that all Medi-Cal enrolled children be tested for lead.  Federal law and state regulations currently require that children receiving Medi-Cal benefits be tested for lead at 12 and 24 months of age.

“It is critical that we empower and inform physicians and parents about the dangers of lead exposure so that they can help protect children and families,” Senator Leyva said.  “Without even knowing, kids can oftentimes be exposed to lead through various sources, including toys, drinking water, soil and lead-based paint.  SB 1041 informs parents and doctors of the importance of kids receiving a blood lead level screening test as a precautionary health measure.  Since being exposed to any level of lead can be dangerous for children, SB 1041 will help to promptly diagnose and treat children and minimize further lead exposure.”

A recent analysis of Medi-Cal billing data by EWG shows that, between 2012 and 2016, nearly three-fourths of Medi-Cal enrolled children were not tested for lead exposure.  Children in at least 4 million U.S. households are exposed to high levels of lead, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC reports that there is no safe blood lead level in children and even the smallest amount of lead in children can cause mental and physical disorders such as attention deficit issues, brain damage, and delayed body growth.

Following today’s passage by the Senate Health Committee, SB 1041 will next be considered in the Senate Appropriations Committee later this spring.