Our opinion: Lead testing needs to happen

State legislators and outgoing Gov. Tom Wolf have made lead testing for children a priority.

This session, the legislature and incoming Gov. Josh Shapiro should make lead testing for children a requirement.

Wolf signed Act 150 into law on Nov. 3 to encourage doctors to test pregnant women and children up to 2 years of age who they believe have been exposed to lead. That’s a good start, but it’s far from the bill Sen, Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne, had in mind when she introduced Senate Bill 522. A 2019 state task force on lead exposure recommended the state implement universal lead testing for young children — which is what Baker proposed. Senators changed the bill’s language to state doctors must make reasonable efforts to test children for lead by the time they turn 2 and then passed the weakened bill in a party line vote. The state House of Representatives then removed language making lead testing a requirement and replaced it with language saying a doctor should consider whether a child or mother has been exposed to lead and then decide if testing should be recommended.

No wonder Baker is asking senators to co-sponsor a new lead testing bill.

“Research demonstrates that universal lead testing is a practical and effective protective measure to reduce instances of lead poisoning. Accordingly, the legislation seeks to ensure that all children receive at least one test by age two, and all children and pregnant women with known, demonstrated risk factors as identified by health care professionals,” Baker wrote in her co-sponsorship memorandum.

Baker is right. Universal lead testing can go a long way toward protecting children from serious developmental issues. Her new bill should move through the legislature this year without last year’s legislative tinkering.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today