Lead testing and outreach bill passed

A bill creating a lead poisoning prevention program was passed by the Legislature April 4.

LB1038, introduced by Omaha Sen. Brenda Council, authorizes the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) division of public health to create an education and outreach program for school children.

Under the program, a coordinated plan to prevent childhood lead poisoning will:
• educate health care providers, child care providers, public school personnel and parents about the risks of lead poisoning;
• provide a standard to be used in identifying elevated blood-lead levels; and
• recommend that a child be tested for elevated blood-lead levels if the child resides in a zip code with a high prevalence of children with elevated blood-lead levels or if the child meets one of the criteria in a screening questionnaire developed by DHHS.

The department is not required to pay the cost of elevated blood-lead testing except for children who participate in the medical assistance program established under the Medical Assistance Act.

Senators passed the bill on a 44-0 vote.

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