SB 247 – Childhood Lead

Each year in New Hampshire, several hundred new cases of Granite State children living or receiving childcare in housing built before 1978 were getting poisoned with lead. For several years, Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that all children have their blood tested for toxic levels of lead at ages one and two.  Up until the recent passage of SB 247, a bill which addresses childhood lead poisoning in paint and water, New Hampshire did not such a requirement for universal testing.  In fact, less than 20% of NH’s children in that age category have had this simple blood test. SB247 has now passed in the legislature and has been signed by the Governor into law.  This new law will require that:

  • Doctors and clinics test children at the one and two-year checkup, unless parents object.
  • Insurance must cover the cost of these tests.
  • Lowers the blood lead level that triggers DHHS investigations from the current “action level” of 10 micrograms per deciliter to 7.5 as of July 1,2019, and the CDC’s recommended level of 5 as of July 1,2021.
  • It enables earlier action to protect kids by providing important information to parents and landlords when a child is diagnosed with a blood lead level of 3 mcg/dl.
  • It limits DHHS to investigating only units that are occupied by a child under the age of seven or a pregnant woman in multi‐unit rental housing. A significant change from the current which requires all units in the building to be tested if a child’s blood lead levels exceeds the action level.                 
  • It establishes a loan guarantee program to help landlords and homeowners lower the overall cost of lead hazard remediation, with a total program cap of $6 million.
  • It addresses lead in drinking water by requiring DHHS to test drinking water in units where a child’s blood lead level meets or exceeds the “action level” and also requires day care centers and schools to test for lead in water every five years; and also requires filtration when lead levels exceed EPA standards.
  • It requires any newly created rental units and child care facilities building that was built before January 1, 1978 to be certified as lead safe effective July 1, 2024. This provision only applies to pre‐1978 buildings not currently being used as rental housing or for child care facilities that are converted to those uses after July 1, 2024.
  • This bill does not currently apply to privately owner-occupied housing, even if small children reside.
  • It updates the form sellers of real estate are already required to provide purchasers regarding lead, radon and arsenic with more complete and accurate information about lead.

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