PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced Tuesday that he has formed a Lead Task Force.

The nine-member task force will focus on childhood lead exposure. It will review county data, strategies and literature. It will also examine potential policies. A report and recommendations are expected to be delivered to the County Executive within six months.

One potential policy is already moving toward approval. Last Wednesday, the Allegheny County Board of Health voted unanimously to advance legislation that would set up rules for lead testing of young children.

The proposal calls for children between 9-12 months of age to get tested. Those children would be re-tested at 2 years of age. There would also be “catch up” testing for children who are ready to start school, but have never been tested.

Testing exemptions would also be offered for medical, religious and moral reasons. There would not be any enforcement or punishment for families that do not comply.

The recommendations follow the current guidelines set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If Allegheny County’s legislation gets final approval, it would go into effect next year.

State lawmakers are also considering a bill that would require lead testing for children throughout Pennsylvania.

(Photo Credit: Bryan Orr/KDKA)

Meanwhile, free water filters started being distributed to Pittsburgh residents on Wednesday.

The filters are part of Mayor Bill Peduto’s short-term solution to help cut down on the amount of lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water.

Free lead testing kits are also available.

Priority is being given to women who are pregnant and families with small children.

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