Bill Requires California To Test Millions of Children for Lead Exposure
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On Sunday, the California state legislature sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a bill that would protect millions of children from the developmental and health impacts of toxic lead exposure. Assembly Bill 2276 addresses the state’s poor track record of ensuring that the children most at risk of lead poisoning are screened and tested.
A report by the state auditor found more than 1.4 million children covered by Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid healthcare program, did not receive proper lead tests and that the state Department of Public Health was neglecting the prevention of lead poisoning. This bill’s requirements are especially important now that children are primarily confined to their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s time that we ensure that all toddlers on Medi-Cal are tested for lead,” said Susan Little, EWG's senior advocate for California government affairs. “Safeguarding our children’s health must be a priority. This bill holds Medi-Cal managed care plans accountable for testing children in their care. Plans and doctors will have to pay careful attention to children’s lead-testing outcomes, and the state will clearly be able to sanction plans that fail to comply with the testing requirements.”
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