SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new report from the California State Auditor found more than 1.4 million children may be at risk of lead poisoning and not know it because the state’s top two health agencies aren’t doing their jobs.
The state audit found Sacramento County tops the list for the most kids with lead poisoning and most kids on Medi-Cal who did not get their required lead testing.
Kids under six are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can lead to low IQ, behavioral issues, hearing loss, and even death.
In Senator Richard Pan’s district, which covers much of greater-Sacramento, there were more than 55,000 kids ages two and under who did not get their required lead testing.
The audit identified nine Sacramento-area census tracts, including Arden-Arcade and Carmichael, with the most kids under six with lead poisoning and the most kids who had not been tested.
The audit blames two agencies: the Department of Health Care Services, which oversees Medi-Cal, and should be ensuring kids are getting tested, and the Department of Public Health, which is supposed to address hazards before kids are exposed and identify high-risk areas. The audit found they haven’t.
The state auditor says both agencies agreed with her findings but says their plans to address the issues don’t go far enough.
For now, parents can get their children tested, especially if they are between one and two, the required age for testing.
Additionally, be aware that lead paint, contaminated soil, and dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning. Frequent hand washing, dusting, and keeping outdoor shoes out of the house, can all help reduce exposure.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story erroneously referenced the Department of Managed Health Care instead of the Department of Health Care Services.