(WATERBURY, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed into law Public Act 22-49, which will align Connecticut’s standards on childhood lead poisoning with federal standards and help alleviate the risks associated with it. The governor proposed the legislation earlier this year as part of his package of priorities for the legislative session, explaining that the state needs to proactively do a better job of protecting children from lead poisoning.
The governor discussed the importance of the new law today during an event on the topic in Waterbury, a city where 72% of its housing units were built before 1978, making the presence of lead likely now or in the past. Waterbury has embraced the issue of addressing lead in its housing stock over the last few decades by building a strong remediation program that received $5.7 million in 2020 – the largest possible federal grant – to assist in tackling this issue. Speaking in front of two homes that were recently remediated for lead, Governor Lamont emphasized the importance of lead remediation programs like Waterbury’s and a strong partnership between state and local health departments to combat lead poisoning in Connecticut’s children.
“Childhood lead poisoning has catastrophic impacts on health and development, including irreversible learning and developmental disabilities,” Governor Lamont said. “In particular, this problem has most deeply impacted minority families and those who live in disadvantaged communities. For too long, the standards for lead testing and treatment in Connecticut have fallen well behind the best practices, and I am glad we are making these long-overdue updates.”
The newly signed law includes steps that will strengthen early intervention in instances of lead poisoning by gradually reducing the blood lead level that triggers parental notifications and home inspections to more closely align with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2020, 1,024 Connecticut children had a significant enough concentration of lead in their blood that those organizations would have recommended a home inspection. However, Connecticut law required only 178 investigations.
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