Rep. DeLauro calls for increased funding for lead testing

Posted: Updated:

Rep. Rosa DeLauro demanded Monday an increase in federal funding for lead testing and treatment for children exposed to the toxic metal.

Last year, a crisis erupted in Flint, Michigan, when the public water system turned out to be contaminated with lead.

The major concern was that water pipes were full of the metal, but in the Northeast the problem is that children may be ingesting and breathing in lead particles.

DeLauro says children are getting lead poisoning through water from old lead pipes, bits of paint and dust from old buildings, and soil.

She says exposure to it can alter a child's brain development.

"Chronic exposure to lead in children younger than 6 (carries the) risk of cognitive disabilities, neuromuscular, kidney, the list goes on," says Dr. Stuart Silverstein, of Firefly Pediatrics and Urgent Care in Stamford. "So you want to make sure your child's not being exposed chronically to lead."

DeLauro's "Smart Child Act" calls for $150 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test children for lead poisoning, which the CDC says it considers the most preventable disease in young children.

She says if a child is tested and the problem is caught early, parents can "change their environment and make sure they're no longer exposed to the lead."

Testing a child's blood for lead costs less than $20.

The Connecticut Department Health says that as of 2015, more than 2,500 children had lead poisoning. Since then another 1,600 cases have been identified.

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