ST. PAUL, Minn. – A bill intended to strengthen the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act has been introduced ahead of the start of the 2016 Legislative Session. Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), a co-author on the bill says in light of the rampant lead poisoning problems occurring in Flint, Michigan, now is the right time to raise awareness of existing lead problems in our own communities.
Hoffman says the issue was raised by a constituent in bill author Sen. Jeff Hayden’s (DFL-Minneapolis) district, whose son was poisoned by lead found in the family’s rental home. The ensuing problems in Ticiea Fletcher’s son motivated her to reach out as a parent advocate and make sure something is done in order to prevent more cases of lead poisoning in the future.
“The bill I am co-authoring requires landlords and people selling their homes in Minnesota to do a better job of disclosing the presence of lead-based paint or lead hazards by conducting a lead risk assessment. Part of reducing the number of lead poisonings is testing for it more frequently, and raising awareness. Lead poisoning is so terrible and can mean life-long struggles when children are poisoned – we must take this matter seriously – and that’s what this bill is about, holding all of us to a higher standard and making home-owners more accountable for reducing lead hazards,” said Sen. Hoffman.
Children are at the highest risk of lead poisoning, and because their brains are still developing, lead can lead to mental impairment. Mental impairment can include behavior problems, low IQ, problems with hearing, learning difficulties and growth delays. Lead poisoning is diagnosed with a blood lead test. According to the Minnesota Department of Health a blood lead level of 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood (mdg/dL) is now considered elevated.