Starting today (Thursday) 16-year-olds in Iowa are eligible to donate blood. The state legislature voted to lower the age requirement this spring at the request of Iowa blood banks. A spokesperson for the Blood Center of Iowa, Christine Hayes, says changing the age requirement from 17 to 16 could make They think the change will affect the number of donors who show up for high-school-sponsored blood drives, and hopes as much as five to 15-percent of collections wind up coming from the teenage donors. By law, 16-year-olds will have to have parental consent before donating. She says lowering the age for donation is nothing new.She says the state of Iowa’s one of only a few that have not already accepted 16-year-old donors, so there’s a precedent set already including approval by the FDA, which regulates blood banks. And Hayes says although the law is now in affect, the Blood Center of Iowa won’t begin accepting the younger donors until September. In the meantime, the center has seen a dropoff in collections and could use a boost in supply.Traditionally summer’s a slow collection time with many donors off on vacation. Hayes says the center was surprised by lower collection levels in the spring as well. With the situation the country’s in, having troops off at war, we never know when something — even a terrorist attack — might happen on a large scale and require a big supply of blood, so Hayes says we should be prepared for the outcome. She says the center needs an amply supply heading into the Fourth-of-July weekend because the demand for blood often rises due to an increase in boating and car accidents.