NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 3, 2004

States across the country are expanding the number of rare but devastating genetic diseases for which they test newborns. Health advocates say a national standard for testing infants is necessary to prevent discrepancies in diagnosing and treating these rare illnesses.

Meanwhile, some states are voluntarily increasing the number of diseases for which babies will be tested:

  • California's legislature passed a law recently increasing the number of illnesses it will test from four to 41.
  • Missouri officials recently announced they will test for 25 diseases, up from the current five.
  • New York State has agreed to triple the number of diseases for which it tests newborns.

An upcoming report from the American College of Medical Genetics will urge that every state test for at least 30 genetic diseases, each of which can be detected from a blood sample taken shortly after birth. Many of the ailments can be alleviated or even cured by simple dietary changes.

Source: Michael Waldholz, "Parents Prod States to Boost Newborn Testing," Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2004.

For WSJ text (subscription required),,SB109113638024578158,00.html


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