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To die in committee, again?

In 2014, I remember reading about the Flint, Michigan, lead-contaminated water debacle and thinking how that would never happen here in Pennsylvania because our local/state officials “have our backs.” Our legislators, I argued, would never allow their constituents, especially children, to suffer from that kind of environmental harm. I had faith in their leadership.

Fast forward to today. How naive I’ve apparently been! According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, there are 18 communities throughout Pennsylvania where children are exposed to lead levels that are similar, or higher, than what was initially found in Flint, Michigan, which justifiably sounded alarms that reverberated nationwide.

As a mother of four, as well as a retired public health and school nurse whose career has spanned four states, including Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of lead poisoning, especially in children. The intellectual and physical damage is lifelong and irreversible.

Why, since 2016, have bipartisan bills designed to tackle this lead exposure problem been left to die in committee, never to see the light of day for discussion or a vote on the floor of the last four state legislative sessions? Why?

Shame on our state legislators, particularly our very own Senate Pro Tempore Jake Corman and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, for not aggressively focusing their attention and funding to prioritize and remedy this important health concern.

This legislative negligence must not continue in 2021. All Pennsylvania residents, especially children, deserve better!

LINDA WALLACE

State College

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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