Department of Health

Oversight of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

The Department of Health is responsible for establishing and coordinating activities to prevent lead poisoning and to minimize the risk of exposure to lead. Specifically, the Department is required to promulgate and enforce regulations for screening children and pregnant women and to follow up on those with elevated blood lead levels; coordinate lead poisoning prevention with other federal, State, and local agencies; and establish a statewide registry of children with elevated blood lead levels. We examined the actions taken by the Department in fulfilling these responsibilities.

We found that the Department and each of the counties we visited had developed outreach and education programs in the areas of screening, as well as pre-natal care and day care. However, additional actions were needed to ensure that all children were screened for lead poisoning, as required. For example, we identified 133,477 children (out of a total population of 380,933 children) who were not screened for lead poisoning. We also identified about 99,000 children who were at least two years old and had received only one lead screening, even though two screenings are required by age of two. We further determined that the screening rates reported by the Department were overstated. We also noted that the Department needed to more closely monitor the lead poisoning prevention efforts of county health departments.

For a complete copy of Report 2004-S-49 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.