Legislation to Ensure Lead Testing for Children Heads for Governor’s Signature

Friday, August 31, 2018

Sacramento- AB 2122 by Assemblymembers Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) is headed to Governor Brown after passing the Assembly floor on a unanimous, bi-partisan 80-0 vote. The bill would require the Department of Health Care Services to ensure that Medi-Cal enrolled children are blood lead tested.  The bill also requires the department to notify parents and health providers when a Medi-Cal enrolled child misses a required blood lead test.

Current law requires Medi-Cal enrolled children to get tested for lead in their blood once they reach 12 months of age, and then again at 24 months.  If a Medi-Cal child older than 24 months has not been lead-tested, the child is to be tested before they reach six years of age. According to the Department of Public Health, 88% of lead-poisoned children are enrolled in Medi-Cal.  When Medi-Cal children are lead-tested and those exposed to lead are identified, parents and providers can act to minimize the neurotoxin’s developmental harms.

“It is imperative that the state protects it’s most vulnerable populations,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “With studies illustrating that young children in low income areas are disproportionately impacted by lead exposure, ensuring that children on Medi-Cal are receiving their federally and state mandated blood lead tests will help save numerous children from a myriad of permanent developmental problems.”

“Far too many children are poisoned with lead, and for decades California has fallen woefully short of its responsibility to identify, test and treat them. Testing is essential to identify highly exposed children and the neighborhoods where kids are at greater risk of lead exposure. AB 2122 holds state agencies accountable and ensures that our most vulnerable toddlers receive protected tests.”

Toxic lead exposure disproportionately impacts low income communities, and, for many children, will lead to permanent and life-long disabilities if not caught early enough and treated.  It is imperative that that this policy is passed to help ensure children are tested for lead exposure before the damage is irreparable. For more information on AB 2122 as it heads to the Governor’s desk or to follow it online, click here.

Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes represents Assembly District 47 which includes the cities of Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, San Bernardino and the unincorporated areas of Muscoy and Bloomington.

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Contact: Mark Farouk, mark.farouk@asm.ca.gov, (916) 319-2047