Thursday, October 31, 2019

Wolf Administration Seeking Information On Local Needs To Address Lead Hazards; Senate Fails To Take Action On Lead Task Force Recommendations

On October 31, the Wolf Administration issued a Request for Information to gather information to assist in the development of a program to reduce lead exposures in Pennsylvania by expanding efforts to have children tested for lead exposure and helping communities expand their lead exposure prevention and elimination strategies.
The Request was issued in collaboration with the departments of Human Services, Health, Environmental Protection, Education, Labor and Industry, and Community and Economic Development, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
“It’s imperative that we stay focused on work to end lead exposure and eliminate its effects in our Commonwealth,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “I am hopeful that communities across the state respond with detailed information on specific needs and efforts so that we can develop a comprehensive plan toward a lead-free Pennsylvania.”
“By directly seeking the input of our communities and their partners, and pursuing all sources of funding, we are hopeful we can compile a complete list of needs so that funding, when allocated, goes directly to programs and initiatives that produce swift and measurable results toward protecting Pennsylvanians,” Gov. Wolf said.
Through the RFI, the state wants to learn about the needs of communities throughout the Commonwealth to address lead hazards, the capacity to address those needs, and where gaps exist to further address lead hazards and exposure. 
As part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to reduce the number of properties in the Commonwealth with lead hazards, the RFI seeks the knowledge and experience of communities working to remove lead hazards from their child care centers, schools, homes, playgrounds, and other places where children live, learn, and play. 
Agencies or businesses interested in working to remove lead hazards within their community or across the Commonwealth are also encouraged to respond.
RFI responses are due by 12 p.m., December 2. Responses must be submitted by email to: RA-PWRFICOMMENTS@PA.GOV  with “Lead Exposure Reduction Program RFI” in the email subject line.
Questions related to the RFI may be submitted by email to: RA-PWRFICOMMENTS@PA.GOV  using “Lead Exposure Reduction RFI question” in the email subject line. 
The Administration will post answers on the eMarketplace website.
Senate Lead Exposure Report
In May, members of the Senate Task Force on Lead Exposure released a report making a series of recommendations to reduce lead exposure throughout the state.
The Task Force was created in 2017 by Senate Resolution 33 sponsored by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
The Resolution directed the Joint State Government Commission and a special advisory committee to conduct a comprehensive review of Pennsylvania law and public policy related to lead exposure and abatement practices, assess the age of housing and infrastructure, lead exposure threats, and identify the prevalence of lead in structures where children spend significant time.
The report made a dozen recommendations and Task Force members announced a 5 bill package to address the recommended changes in law.  The bills include--
-- Senate Bill 39 (Schwank-D-Berks) was introduced on January 11 requiring lead testing at child daycare centers;
-- Senate Bill 312 (Baker-R-Luzerne, Yudichak-D-Luzerne) was introduced February 19 requiring universal blood testing for children;
-- Senate Bill 892 (Stefano-R-Fayette) was introduced October 15 establishing a consumer education program on the dangers of lead exposure to be distributed at retail outlets selling plumbing, paint and other supplies for the removal of paint.
-- Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, circulated a co-sponsor memo in April requiring lead testing of school drinking water, but so far has not introduced a bill.
-- Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) circulated a co-sponsor memo in May creating a registry of certified lead-free rental housing, but so far has not introduced a bill.
None of the bills have seen any legislative action.
For more information on lead poisoning and risks, visit the Department of Health’s Lead Poisoning webpage.  For more information on lead in water, visit DEP’s Lead In Drinking Water webpage.
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[Posted: October 31, 2019]

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