Lead testing package to be introduced in Pennsylvania House

HARRISBURG, Feb. 11 – Citing the growing concern both nationwide and in Pennsylvania about the dangers of hidden lead poisoning, state Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., will introduce a package of legislation aimed at increasing lead testing in several main areas.

"It’s a tragedy that the events in Flint had to remind us of the dangers of lead poisoning, but the danger is real and the danger is high," Cruz said. "Studies from the Department of Health show that multiple cities across Pennsylvania are dealing with children testing positive for high blood lead levels, including Allentown, Scranton, York, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, among others. This is not an issue we can afford to take lightly."

The first piece of legislation would require children under age 6 to be tested for elevated lead levels in their blood. Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommend children be tested at ages 1, 2 and again before age 6.

The second piece of legislation would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to require more frequent testing for lead in water. Under current law, water is tested every three years at a reduced number of sample sites after the initial passing. Cruz’s legislation would require testing to be done annually at the reduced number of sample sites and a complete test from all sample sites every three years.

The third piece of legislation, which is being developed by Lehigh Valley legislators, would require residential rental properties built before 1978 to the same requirements that federal law has laid out for the sale of residential homes. Currently, a lead inspection is required before the sale of a home. This legislation would require a lead inspection each time a tenant vacates a rental property before renting to a new tenant.