New law will require lead testing in young children
MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is promising parents their children will be tested for lead at a young age through a new law.
“What it does is it puts a requirement in place that infants be screened at 1- and 2-years-old. All infants,” said Sen. John Cherry.
Whitmer signed into law legislation aimed at helping parents protect their babies from lead. The bipartisan bill requires all children be tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2.
“Previously, only children who are covered by Medicaid were screened,” Cherry said. “There was a Medicaid requirement, but if a child was under commercial insurance or didn’t have insurance, there was no requirement.”
Cherry said the law was inspired by the Flint Water Crisis and the number of children reported by Medicaid as having lead poisoning. He said screening more children for lead will not only help ensure their health, but the health of those around them.
“Making sure that we’re testing helps parents know whether or not their child is being exposed and if they are being exposed, you know, allows that exposure to be addressed and eliminated and for that child to get any help and resources they might need,” he said.
No amount of lead in a person’s blood is safe and experts say early detection will help with intervention.
Cherry said lead testing is covered by insurance, but for the uninsured, it will cost around $10 to $20 dollars.
“One of the things that’s going to come out of the bill once folks are getting testing is, we will become aware of additional kids who are being exposed and if we understand, ‘What are the things that are causing a child to be exposed?’ then maybe we can take some policy actions,” he said.
The bill also allows parents to opt out of testing. The testing requirements take effect in January.
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