A bill approved in the Iowa House Tuesday would require Iowa schoolkids be tested for lead poisoning, just as they’re now required to have their childhood immunizations. Des Moines Democrat Wayne Ford said the benefits of testing will be not only for children and their families, but a cost-savings for the state.
He says lead poisoning in children will cost the state more than 25 million dollars from decreased tax revenue, special education costs, and additional blood lead testing. The sale of lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but doctors think kids are affected when they eat paint chips from the walls of older homes.
Des Moines Democrat Wayne Ford also argued for tougher regulations on the sale of those older homes. "Anyone who works for the real estate situation should understand that if business is about profit instead of making sure kids are safe, then we should change the disclosure form to say you are 100% sure there is no lead paint in the house."
The law would require parents to show their children’s school proof of lead testing as well as immunizations. Health officials could waive the test in cases of very low risk. Some lawmakers argued that it’s too late to wait to test kids until they are in school, and some argued for more funding to renovate homes to remove the danger. The vote was 86 to 5. The bill now goes to the Senate.