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Turner Bill to Enhance Childhood Lead Screenings Advances

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Trenton – In an effort to strengthen State requirements for childhood lead screenings, the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner to codify the schedule for childhood lead screenings and establish lead screenings as a requirement for initial entry into the school system.


“Protecting children from the adverse effects of lead exposure is an important public health goal,” said Senator Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “However, since lead exposure affects a child’s behavior and ability to learn, sufficient screenings need to be a part of the school enrollment process to allow families, schools, and health providers to better manage the needs of our children.”


Under the bill, S-1507, in addition to the two lead screening tests that are currently required by the Department of Health, children would be required to undergo a third lead screening test immediately prior to initial school enrollment. Every healthcare entity that is subject to the provisions of the State’s childhood lead poisoning prevention act, would be required to perform lead screenings on each patient between six months and six years of age.


The bill would codify, in the statutory law, the existing schedule for childhood lead screening. Healthcare entities performing lead screenings would be authorized to perform the screening on-site, at the point of care, or during the course of a wellness visit, without the need to obtain a laboratory license.


The bill was released from committee by a vote of 6-1.