ASTHO Legislative Update on Lead Exposure Nationwide

May 18, 2017|5:16 p.m.| KT Kramer

ASTHO is tracking 56 bills and resolutions from 20 states aimed at reducing and mitigating exposure to environmental lead hazards. The 2017 Legislative Update below breaks down the bills into separate topic areas. The majority of bills (34) focus on testing lead levels in drinking water in schools and day care centers. States are also exploring other approaches to reduce lead exposure, such as testing for lead in water and soil in private homes and disclosing the results, improving state-led childhood lead exposure prevention programs, and developing financing mechanisms for remediation efforts. Figure 2 identifies which states are considering bills in each of the topic areas.

2017 Legislative Update

2017 Legislative Update 2

Testing Drinking Water in Schools and Day Care Centers for Lead:

New York became the first state to enact a law mandating tests for lead in school drinking water, with schools publicly disclosing results in fall 2016. Illinois passed a similar law in early 2017 requiring testing in both schools and day care centers. Both states are considering further actions. In Illinois, SB 1943 requires schools to provide lead test results to the state health department, while in New York, A 7148 and SB 4439 expand lead testing to day care centers and provide financial support for implementation.

Fourteen additional states have bills addressing requirements for testing drinking water in schools, three states have bills addressing water in day care centers, and six states have bills that address both schools and day cares. California (AB 885/AB 746/SB 210), Colorado (HB 1306), Connecticut (HB 5026), Maine (HB 1119), Michigan (HB 4378), Minnesota (HF 1698/HF 890/SF 1561/SF 718), Oregon (SB 1062), Pennsylvania (SB 647), Tennessee (HB 631/SB 619), Texas (HB 2395), Vermont (H 441), Washington (HB 1925), and Wisconsin (AB 249) have legislation that would require lead testing in school systems. These bills do vary in some respects, such as frequency of testing, whether it applies to both public and private schools, the maximum level of lead allowed, disclosure and notification requirements, as well as mandates and funding for remediation activities. In addition to New York, New Jersey (A 3878/S 3147) and Wisconsin (AB 298) have standalone bills that require testing water for lead in day care centers.

Massachusetts (H 2915/S 456), Minnesota (HF 2181/SF 1946), North Carolina (HB 825), Rhode Island (HB 5907), Texas (HB 3695/SB 1587), and Washington state (SB 5745) have bills that include requirements for both schools and day care centers.

Enhancing State-led Approaches to Reducing and Mitigating Lead Exposure

Michigan (HB 4179), New Hampshire (SB 247), New Jersey (A 4304/S 2957), New York (SB 4408/SB 5032/SB 5457), Pennsylvania (HB 667/SR 33), Texas (SB 1580), and Wisconsin (SB 141) are considering additional approaches and responses to reduce and mitigate lead exposure. New Hampshire, New York (SB 5032), and Pennsylvania (SR 33) have bills that take a comprehensive look at lead hazards to address environmental sources other than drinking water that could introduce lead exposure, such as paint. In New Hampshire, SB 247 implements universal screening for children until age two and testing for lead in paint and water before the sale of residential or rental properties. The bills in New York establish a childhood lead poisoning prevention act to enforce lead hazard controls and provide financing mechanisms for abatement. Pennsylvania’s resolution establishes a legislative task force and advisory committee to look at lead hazards in the state and make recommendations.

Michigan, New York (SB 5457), and Wisconsin have bills to address financing mechanisms to make it easier for individuals, schools, and communities to remediate lead contamination. In New York, SB 4408 allows small water systems to request that the state perform lead tests, while Texas’s bill requires testing of all drinking water outlets and water lines in publicly owned properties. In New Jersey, the bills require disclosure of any soil test reported to the health department, the Department of Environmental Protection, or the Department of Community Affairs.

Testing for Lead Hazards in Private Homes

In addition, three states are considering bills to address lead exposure from water and soil in private homes. New Jersey (A 4305/S 2956), New York (SB 119), and Wisconsin (AB 76/SB 41) are considering new disclosures for land sales and renters. New Jersey’s bills require soil tests as part of all residential home sales, with results sent to the buyer, seller, and the department of environmental protection. In New York, the bill requires water testing for the sale of any land served by a private well with results provided to the health department. In Wisconsin, the bills require landlords to test water for lead and disclose results to prospective tenants.

Other Policies to Address Exposure to Lead Hazards

In terms of other policies, Connecticut (SB 937) and Pennsylvania (HB 669) have bills requiring or enhancing licensure requirements for individuals or entities that test for or abate lead exposure. In Michigan, HB 4339 updates the definition of “lead free” in the construction code and HB 4379 requires hospitals to conduct annual lead tests in their water supply. Bills in New Jersey (A 4569/S 2834) apply regulations issued by the Board of Public Utilities to all water purveyors in the state.

If you have questions or know of other legislation that ASTHO should track, please contact KT Kramer, director of state health policy.