A committee of City Council will consider on Wednesday a package of bills aimed at protecting against lead poisoning, including one that would mandate testing at day-care facilities in homes built before 1978.
"No parent should ever have to worry that her child might be exposed to lead in child care," Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who introduced that bill, said in a statement. "This bill is a win-win; it will ensure that no center can open without first ensuring its facility is safe for children."
The other legislation focuses on lead in water, mandating testing of public school water fountains and requiring landlords provide information on lead poisoning to tenants.
The bills were introduced in June, before the Inquirer and Daily News reported on the high rates at which Philadelphia children are poisoned by lead and the failures by government to address the danger. The report was the first installment of the series "Toxic City."
Last year, the city's Department of Public Health checked the houses of about 500 children who showed elevated lead levels, according to the Toxic City report, though nearly 2,700 children displayed levels at or above what the federal government says should prompt officials to intervene.
The series elicited an immediate reaction from local lawmakers, who said more money and staff are needed to address the threat of lead paint found in Philadelphia's aged housing stock. Several Council members and community activists also placed blame on the city for not enforcing existing laws, such as by punishing landlords who rent out properties in spite of high lead levels.
Landlords are currently required to provide tenants information about the risks involving lead paint. That law would be expanded, requiring landlords to also inform tenants about the potential for lead in water, under legislation introduced by Councilwoman Cindy Bass.
Legislation introduced by Councilwoman Helen Gym would require testing of water fixtures in schools. The district's current water testing program calls for all fixtures to be tested by the end of 2017. But Gym's office said the legislation would speed up that timeline and also require every fixture be tested at least once every four years.
The three bills will be heard by Council's Committee on Public Health and Human Services at 10 a.m. Wednesday in City Hall.