Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

March 8, 2022

Sen. Anwar-Sponsored Legislation Reducing Lead Poisoning Receives Public Hearing

Today, legislation proposed by Governor Ned Lamont and co-sponsored by State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), Vice Chair of the Public Health Committee, that would work to reduce lead poisoning and lead content in Connecticut was heard at public hearing by that committee. The legislation seeks to reduce lead positioning by, primarily, introducing lead testing annually for any child between the ages of 3 and 6 who are at elevated risk of lead exposure due to medical assistance or factors in their homes. It further reduces acceptable levels of lead found in blood tests by nearly two-thirds, and is intended to lead to on-site inspections where children may have elevated lead levels in blood.

“We sometimes think of lead poisoning as a thing of the past, but it still impacts far too many children today, and lead exposure can cause brain damage, slowed growth and behavior problems, among others,” said Sen. Anwar. “I’m extremely encouraged that this legislation targets lead poisoning by testing at-risk children, reduces the threshold for lead poisoning in that testing and will lead to inspections, and potentially removal of dangerous, outdated infrastructure, over time. This legislation provides an important focus on the health of our children.”

Governor’s Bill 5045, “An Act Reducing Lead Poisoning,” reduces the threshold constituting lead poisoning from 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood to 3.5 micrograms; requires on-site inspection in cases where blood lead levels were above 10 micrograms in tests before 2023; in 2024, requires on-site inspections where blood lead level was above at least 5 micrograms; and requires testing for any child aged 3-6 at elevated risk of lead exposure based on medical assistance programs or residence in a municipality with factors including housing built before 1960 and prevalence of children’s blood lead levels.

In testimony, many parties supported Governor’s Bill 5045. Connecticut Voices For Children said up to 0.5% of children under the age of 6 in Connecticut had blood lead levels indicating lead poisoning, and that children with elevated blood levels are 30% more likely to fail third-grade reading and math tests, as well as that Black and Hispanic children are more likely to be lead poisoned than white children. The Connecticut Hospital Association said the legislation would substantially improve the state’s ability to diminish risk of lead poisoning, and that at least 2,000 children were poisoned every year from 2012 to 2016.

Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, said that this bill will align state statutes with approved standards set by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allow for earlier indication and potential intervention, and promote healthier communities in Connecticut as a whole.