A resolution that calls for the Pennsylvania Senate to establish a bipartisan task force on lead exposure was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
The full Senate will now consider the proposal.
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, said the task force would investigate the scope of Pennsylvania’s lead-exposure problem, particularly as it relates to lead in drinking water.
“The Senate Lead Task Force will marshal the resources of medical professionals, industry leaders, and cabinet officials to provide the Senate with expert recommendations so that we can act quickly and efficiently to reduce the risk of lead exposure in Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said. “It is inexcusable for any Pennsylvanian to fear that their health or their family’s health could be jeopardized because of ineffective lead polices or sufficient lead abatement programs.”
The legislation was re-introduced March 1, the same day a report by PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center — an environmental advocacy group — gave Pennsylvania a grade of “F” in regards to preventing lead in drinking water in schools.
Yudichak is the bill’s prime sponsor. He said the task force would recommend changes to existing laws, regulations and procedures that would reduce the risk of lead contamination in drinking water.
The plan also calls for the Joint State Government Commission to convene an advisory committee that would include state officials and medical professionals.
Within 18 months, the commission would have to submit a report to the Senate detailing recommendations to reduce the risk of lead contamination. The report would address lead-exposure threats and identify the prevalence of lead in structures where children spend significant time.
Yudichak proposed creating a similar task force during the 2015-2016 legislative session, but he couldn’t get it “to the finish line.”
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.