Skip to main content

Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Young Children from Lead Poisoning


October 3, 2023



Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Young Children from Lead Poisoning 


LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan bills to protect minors in Michigan by guaranteeing the screening of minors for lead poisoning. The bills ensure that all children at 12 and 24 months are tested for lead poisoning, allowing for an opt-out for parents.

“Keeping Michiganders safe and healthy is top priority, and today’s bipartisan bills will build on our efforts to protect children from lead poisoning,” said Governor Whitmer. “In Michigan, we know the importance of safe drinking water and the devastating, long-lasting impacts of lead exposure. With our historic investments in water infrastructure over the last five years, our work to replace tens of thousands of lead service lines, and today’s bills to test children for lead exposure, we will protect our water and our children. Together, we will make Michigan a safer, healthier state to grow up.”

Senate Bill 31, sponsored by state Senator John Cherry, D-Flint, requires a physician treating a minor to test or order a test for lead poisoning at early ages.

“Lead poisoning poses a serious health risk to kids not only in Flint, but across Michigan,” said state Senator John Cherry (D-Flint). “To protect the health of our children, families and communities we must take the necessary steps to address this pressing issue on multiple fronts, including during regular healthcare checkups. This legislation, which ensures access to lead testing for all children, regardless of their insurance coverage, will help parents identify early on if their children have been exposed to lead. This way, they can ensure their kids receive the treatment they need to live a happy, healthy and full life.”  

House Bill 4200, sponsored by state Representative Helena Scott, D-Detroit, will update a child's immunization certificate to include a space indicating whether the minor had been tested for lead poisoning, beginning January 1, 2024.

“The signing of this bill is a tangible commitment to regularly screen children for lead exposure at varied intervals in partnership and under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services,” said state Representative Helena Scott (D-Detroit). “As we work to get the lead out of our infrastructure, I see this lead screening bill as an important tool that will enable us to act quickly in cases of lead exposure, and ultimately, we can better protect the health and well-being of our young children.”

Universal lead screening will boost detection of lead poisoning in Michigan. No amount of lead in the blood is considered safe, making early diagnosis and intervention essential.

The budget Governor Whitmer signed this year invested nearly $600 million to protect drinking water, helping communities replace lead service lines, rebuild sewers, and more.

While lead in drinking water is concerning, lead can also come from other sources. Exposure to lead-based paint chips and dust, as well as soil with higher levels of lead, are most often to blame when it comes to having elevated levels of lead in the body.

Governor Whitmer’s Work to Protect our Drinking Water:

  • In 2022, signed the Building Michigan Together Plan that invested nearly $2 billion, supporting 27,000 jobs, to remove lead service lines, reduce toxic contaminants like PFAS and lead, rebuild water infrastructure, protect groundwater resources, and so much more. 
  • In 2021, signed an executive directive to improve Michigan’s drinking water protections.
  • Enforced the strongest Lead and Copper Rule for drinking water in the country.
  • In 2020, launched the MI Clean Water Plan and invested over $2 billion to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across the state, supporting 30,000 jobs.

Governor Whitmer’s Work to Expand Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care:

  • In 2023, in her What’s Next Address, Governor Whitmer proposed codifying the Affordable Care Act and establishing an independent, nonpartisan Prescription Drug Affordability Board.
  • In 2022, signed a bill lowering the cost of prescription drugs and increasing pharmacy oversight.
  • In 2021, signed a bill protecting Michiganders against surprise medical billing
  • In 2020, established Prescription Drugs Task Force and is implementing their recommendations to drive down costs, promote transparency, and improve health outcomes
  • Extended Healthy Michigan to over 1 million people, and eliminated red tape, lowering costs for working families.
  • Consistently invested and expanded in Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies, an initiative to address disproportionate racial impacts of maternal and infant mortality and ensure moms have the support they need for healthy pregnancies, deliveries, and postpartum care.

Governor Whitmer also signed House Bills 4356, 4357, 4377, and 4378.

House Bills 4356 and 4357 give school districts and teachers more opportunities to negotiate on policies that will benefit their districts. These bills build on prior legislation that worked to recruit and retain skilled educators and counselors.   

House Bills 4377 and 4378 ensure that Michigan stays in compliance with a multi-state agreement that helps to provide businesses consistency in their operations.

Bill Signing