The Hippo


Dec 12, 2019








 What parents can do to prevent lead poisoning

• Ask a healthcare provider to test your child if you’re concerned about possible exposure.
• Talk to your local or state health departments about testing your home for lead paint or dust if your home was built before 1978 and you have small children.
• Mop floors, damp-wipe surfaces, clean pacifiers, toys and your child’s hands.
• Avoid home remedies and cosmetics that contain lead.
• Avoid eating candies imported from Mexico (especially children and pregnant women).
• Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for warnings on products that contain lead.
• Use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking or making baby formula. Hot water is more likely to contain higher lead levels from lead pipes inside the home.
• If remodeling a home built before 1978, shower and change clothes after finishing a task to reduce exposure to lead. 
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Preventing poisoning
How a bill aims to strengthen lead poisoning protections

By Ryan Lessard

 A bill in the legislature would enact the broadest revamp of lead poisoning regulations in years. It would lower the amount of lead in blood tests needed to require parental and property owner notification, require testing for children age 1 and 2, require insurance coverage for blood tests and require testing for lead in the drinking water of schools and daycare facilities. It also establishes a loan fund for landlords to remediate lead paint on their properties and requires sellers of property to warn of the dangers of possible lead on the property.

Bipartisan agreement
Democratic state Sen. Dan Feltes is the prime sponsor of the bill. He said the issue is a pressing one.
“Children are literally being poisoned by the places where they sleep and by the water they drink,” Feltes said.
The blood tests will be an important step in preventing poisonings, Feltes said, and it will improve our knowledge of the scope of the problem.
He said both Democrats and Republicans are recognizing the risks and the need for action.
“I think right now you have a bipartisan recognition that we have a childhood lead poisoning problem in the state of New Hampshire. It’s a public health epidemic. It’s one that we haven’t talked about a lot,” Feltes said.
Gail Gettens at the state Department of Health and Human Services agreed it’s an epidemic and said there’s been an average of 800 children each year from 2011 through 2015 that had elevated levels of lead in their blood. That’s defined by more than 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. 
But many children aren’t being tested. She said in 2015, fewer than 17 percent of children age 1 and 2 were tested.
“So, we know those numbers are highly underreported because we’re only testing an incredibly small fraction of the children in New Hampshire who should be tested,” Gettens said.
The bill passed the Senate and the House before going to two House committees. The House finance committee recently gave its recommendation for the bill’s passage and it goes up for another full House vote in January. 
In New Hampshire, that’s partly due to the severity of the problem, according to Feltes.
“We have some of the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning in the country. We have some of the oldest housing stock in the country, in terms of multi-family units that are pre-1978 that have lead paint. And we have one of the oldest water infrastructures in the country, with piping and service lines that have lead in them,” he said.
Feltes thinks the bipartisan consensus is “relatively new.” Recent events may have helped shape perspectives, such as the public water crisis in Flint, Michigan. And recent bills signed by Republican governors, such as Paul LePage in Maine and Chris Christie in New Jersey, have taken a tougher stance on preventing lead poisoning.
“Republican governors in the Northeast have dealt with it. There’s no reason why we can’t,” Feltes said.
House changes
The House Finance Committee amended the bill and some landlords aren’t happy about it. In the original Senate version, $6 million would go toward the remediation fund across 2018 and 2019. Of that, $2 million would be from loans and the remaining $4 million would come from grants. The House made it so all of the $6 million would be from loans administered by the Business Finance Authority, according to Feltes.
In response, some landlords expressed opposition to the bill. 
Still, Feltes said not all landlords are against it. And the bill has support from other stakeholders such as the insurance community as well as the New Hampshire Pediatric Society. 

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