Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania currently doesn’t have a statewide strategy for protecting children and high-risk adults from lead poisoning.
While state agencies – including the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Labor & Industry, and Department of Health – require testing of public drinking water, control hazardous waste, oversee lead abatement in new construction, and conduct lead poisoning surveys, more is needed.
Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County says it’s hard to control because most of the lead is in private homes and businesses, not in state-owned property.
Lead testing is not required for all children, and limited federal grants are available to help residents with the costs of lead abatement. Infants, children under six, unborn children, pregnant women and adults with kidney or blood pressure disorders may suffer long-term neurological and kidney impairments from lead exposure.
The 2014 Childhood Lead Surveillance Annual Report by the PA Department of Health (DOH) found that children in at least 20 PA cities had elevated levels of lead. DEP reviewed the public water systems in communities identified by the report, concluding that none exceed EPA levels, and that exposure is likely due to paint chips and lead-contaminated soil or dust.
PA ranks third among states in the US in homes built before 1950 – prior to the federal lead paint ban (1978) and lead pipe ban (1986).