Blood Lead Testing

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This account funds the testing of pediatric blood specimens to identify children with elevated lead levels who are in need of specialized medical, environmental, educational and social services.

Massachusetts regulations require that all children under three years old have their blood lead levels tested at least annually (and through age four for children in high-risk communities). The Department of Public Health performs tests on blood samples and collects revenues from third party insurers as well as MassHealth (the federal reimbursements associated with the cost of these tests). This revenue is retained by DPH to support the costs of the tests.

In conclusion, by studying lead and academic performance in Massachusetts – a state that made great strides in reducing children’s blood lead levels – this paper has confirmed not only that lead does adversely affect academic performance but also that the aggregate societal
impact of aggressive public health policy to reduce lead can be sizeable.

Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 18327 (August, 2012)