Baldwin Pushes for Action on Lead Poisoning
Urges Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to improve lead screening data.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin is joining 16 Senate colleagues in calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to tackle the looming issue of childhood lead exposure. The Senators sent a letter to Sema Verma, administrator for CMS, calling for renewed efforts to address issues in lead screening data.
Current federal law requires lead screenings as “appropriate for age and risk factors,” during the enrollment process for Medicaid. Sen. Baldwin and her colleagues, however, feel screenings at 12 months and 24 months of age are not enough.
“Childhood lead exposure remains a serious public health challenge for communities across the country,” the Senators wrote. “With Medicaid serving as an essential health coverage source for the nation’s children, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plays a critical role in the prevention, screening, and treatment of children affected by lead exposure.”
The letter posed seven questions to CMS revolving around exactly what it is doing, or plans to do, in order to improve lead screening data.
Lead exposure in children remains a key concern for families both in urban and rural parts of Wisconsin. Residents in Milwaukee have implored city officials to fund lead lateral replacement programs, sometimes to little effect. Nevertheless, the state legislature continues to explore ways to mitigate water pollution and contamination. Gov. Tony Evers declared 2019 the Year Of Clean Drinking Water in the state, and his administration has drafted new policies to safeguard clean water.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recently updated its rules for lead and copper contamination in water. Although advocates say the rule change was decades in the making and an important step forward, it still may not go far enough.
Childhood lead poisoning can lead to a variety of physical and psychological effects, including learning difficulties, behavioral disorders and poor physical health. The Department of Natural Resources estimates that it would cost $2 billion to replace Wisconsin’s 200,000 lead service lines.
“We write to receive an update on the steps CMS is taking to address demonstrated gaps in data pertaining to blood lead level screenings,” the Senators wrote. The legislators “urge CMS to renew its commitment to ensuring appropriate lead screening for children at risk of lead exposure.” The senators have given CMS until November 30 to respond to their letter.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
- Council effort to create lead-safe program moves forward - Ald. Khalif Rainey - Jul 7th, 2020
- City Hall: Milwaukee on 70-Year Pace To Replace Lead Laterals - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 13th, 2020
- City Hall: Audit Gives Water Works High Marks - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 12th, 2020
- League of Women Voters Presents Forum on Lead Poisoning March 6 - League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County - Mar 2nd, 2020
- AG Objects to Relaxed Lead Pipe Rules - Melanie Conklin - Feb 14th, 2020
- City Hall: Former Health Director Blames Barrett - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 24th, 2019
- Statement of Bevan K. Baker - Bevan K. Baker - Dec 23rd, 2019
- Mayor Barrett Proposes $2.2 Million in Block Grant Funds for Lead Abatement - Mayor Tom Barrett - Dec 4th, 2019
- City Hall: Health Department Probe a State Matter - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 14th, 2019
- City Hall: Proposal Uses Lead Abatement Funds for Marketing - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 7th, 2019
Read more about Lead Crisis here