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Gard's Bill Attacks 'Biggest Health Threat'
January 30, 2008 - State Sen. Beverly Gard called it the first step to greater child safety in Indiana.
Gard’s (R-Greenfield) landmark lead poisoning prevention legislation was enthusiastically passed today in the Senate’s Health and Provider Services Committee.
Gard joined two other key witnesses in telling the committee Senate Bill 143 is legislation that would attack what is arguably one of the biggest health threats to Indiana children today.
Committee members heard testimony and unanimously passed one amendment clarifying language in the bill. Next week, the bill will be heard by the full Senate on Second Reading. Gard said the amendment, most important, would ensure Indiana conforms to federal standards in place for lead poisoning prevention and take into consideration what may become federal law.
“It’s important to protect Hoosier children who are at-risk with accurate screenings and to treat those children with high blood lead levels sooner and appropriately,” Gard said. “This legislation also addresses lead in housing, daycares, consumer products and lead disturbed by construction work being done in structures built before 1978.”
Indiana ranks 11th nationally in the percentage of housing built before lead-based paint was banned for residential use, Gard said. “Indiana has approximately one million residential units constructed before 1950,” Gard said.
Gard’s bill would:
■ Establish the Indiana Lead-Safe Housing Advisory Council;
■ Enact a Consumer Product Protection Act;
■ Require an annual lead risk assessment on child care facilities;
■ Ensure accurate blood lead testing results are promptly delivered to local health officials, so children with lead poisoning can immediately receive appropriate services;
■ Mandate a “Lead Safe Work Practices” training program for contractors, because lead hazards can be created where none previously existed through dust and insufficient clean-up; and
■ Seek to remediate homes known to have caused or contributed to elevated blood lead levels.
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