On July 14, 2016 a Reuters investigation prompted several U.S. Senators to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to re-evaluate its lead screening policy for millions of Medicaid-eligible children. Citing a June 2016 Reuters investigation detailing how millions of U.S. children are falling through the cracks of early childhood lead testing requirements, the Senators demanded corrective measures.
According to Reuters the data from almost a dozen states show that only 41% of Medicaid-eligible children were tested as required in 2014. This is indeed a dismal performance, as noted by the U.S. Senators, especially considering that Medicaid has long required blood testing of children at ages one and two. The State of New York requires doctors to test all children for lead exposure at ages one and two.
These shortcomings raise the harrowing spectre that many children are being exposed to preventable lead exposure which can cause cognitive impairments and permanent mental and physical disabilities. It has been estimated that more than 500,000 children have elevated lead levels in their blood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most homes built before 1978 have old lead paint, often under newer paint. If paint peels, cracks, or is worn down, the chips and dust from the old lead paint can spread onto floors, windowsills and all around your home. Lead paint dust can then get onto children's hand, toys, and into their mouths. For that reason, all parents should request to see the results of their children's blood tests and consult an attorney if the levels are elevated.