July 5, 2017
Allegheny County Seeking to Mandate Lead Testing for all 1 and 2 Year Old Children
Allegheny County Council is seeking to pass legislation mandating all 1 and 2 year old children within the county have their lead level tested. All school, both public and private, would be mandated to report blood lead level testing data to the Department of Health.
The Board of Health did not hold a public hearing. BOH only had a comment period. County Council should hold a public hearing. The Health and Human Services Committee process was not fair. The meeting was 70 minutes long. Dr. Hacker, the Director of the Health Department, occupied the majority of the time speaking with council members. The opposition was only allowed one speaker, Dr. Kingston, who was only permitted to speak for 15 minutes with a few minutes of Q&A. Council members only permitted to ask one or two questions.
The discussion with the Director centered around all the new programs that the ACHD is offering citizens for new literature, home remediation and testing (free blood level tests will be available at WIC centers. But it was smoke and mirrors; Council was not charged with approving the Director’s multi- pronged approach to educate and re-mediate. The BOH can educate and re-mediate without legislation being passed.
Council totally overlooked their role as legislature body which is to examine the legislation line by line and see if it accomplishes its stated goal and to guard the rights of citizens, to see that the proposed legislation does not violate any county laws, state laws or sections of the US Constitution. However, this appears to be a pet project of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who created the lead task force and is the sponsor of the legislation!
This mandate is something County Council has never done before and it should give them great pause! Never before has County Council mandated that children be given a diagnostic test or mandated that school districts collect data! However, last Wednesday Council’s Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-2 to send the legislation to the full council with a positive recommendation. Sue Means, R-Bethel Park, and Ed Kress, R-Shaler, voted against the recommendation.
The vote concerning this government overreach is on tonight’s agenda! The meeting is at 5:00 p.m. and is at the Allegheny County Courthouse, 4th Floor – Gold Room , 436 Grant Street , Pittsburgh. Please plan to attend to show support for those who oppose this overreach!