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Philadelphia Childhood Lead Poisoning Advisory Group Releases Final Report

Philadelphia has a persistent childhood lead poisoning problem. In December 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney released a plan called “Lead Free Kids” to improve the city’s efforts to prevent lead poisoning. Along with this plan, the Mayor convened a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Advisory Group. A coalition with representatives from city and state government, healthcare providers, landlord organizations, advocacy groups and other stakeholders, the Advisory Group worked to craft final recommendations to help guide the city’s ongoing work to address the problem of childhood lead poisoning.

To expand upon the city’s current plans, the Group offers three recommendations for primary prevention: to expand the Lead Paint Disclosure Law to all rental units built before 1978, increase funding for landlords to remediate properties if they show financial hardship, and explore a pilot program for proactive housing inspections in high-risk areas. For secondary prevention, the group recommends seeking state cooperation to submit a Medicaid waiver to increase funding for home remediation (along with maximizing billing of Medicaid under current rules) and monitoring research on lead exposure to modify PDPH protocols as appropriate.

Lead poisoning is a serious problem for many Philadelphia children. With Mayor Keeney’s “Lead-Free Kids” plan and the recommendations from the Advisory Group, the City hopes to reduce the number of children with blood lead levels greater than or equal to 5 μg/dL by 40% from 2,106 children in 2011 to 1,200 children in 2020.