Frequently Asked Questions

Maryland's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Ninety-five percent of the housing units built in Maryland before 1978 contain lead paint. Swallowing or breathing lead can poison children. Lead poisoning can slow a child's development and cause learning disabilities and behavior problems. While case findings are lower in the outlying counties, far fewer children are tested as compared to Baltimore City. The hazards associated with lead paint are the same regardless of the location of the property.

Maryland's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is designed to reduce the incidence of childhood lead poisoning, while maintaining the supply of affordable rental housing. The Maryland Department of the Environment has proposed regulations concerning risk reduction treatments and lead paint abatement services.

Question Answer
Are all homes regulated? No. Only pre-1978 rental dwellings are regulated. Owner-occupied dwellings are not regulated.
Is the removal of all lead paint in a rental unit required? No. The property owner has the option of meeting the risk reduction standards by passing a lead contaminated dust test for a Full Risk Reduction Lead Certificate or performing lead risk reduction treatments and passing a lead contaminated dust test for a Modified Risk Reduction Lead Certificate.
Can any work be done in an affected rental unit without being subject to the work practices? Yes. Exemptions are provided for a disturbance of 3 square feet or less of painted surface in each room.
When is lead risk reduction work required? Risk reduction work is required in a vacant dwelling at turnover or if a tenant notifies the property owner of deteriorated paint, and the dwelling was built before 1978.
What must be done to meet the risk reduction standards? The property owner must either pass the test for lead-contaminated dust .
When are inspections required? Inspections are required following performance of risk reduction work in rental housing, or at the time of turnover prior to reoccupancy.
Could more than one inspection be required? Yes. Since the maintenance of a dwelling unit can change, the law requires that the condition of the unit be verified at each turnover. If a unit is determined to be Lead Free, then only one inspection is required. Inspections must be performed by an independent accredited inspector.
Can a property owner obtain lead-free status and be exempt from the Risk Reduction standards? Yes. Legislation (House Bill 16 passed in the 1996 Session of the General Assembly) provides two procedures for exempting a property from the requirement to meet the Risk Reduction standards. They are: (1) no lead paint (except factory applied coatings) on exterior or interior painted surfaces; or (2) no lead paint on interior painted surfaces and no chipping, peeling, or flaking lead paint on exterior surfaces.
Can a rental property owner perform risk reduction work? Yes. Owners may perform risk reduction work following completion of a two-day training session and accreditation as a lead paint supervisor.
Are there different training requirements for the various types of risk reduction work performed? Yes. Training and accreditation/licensing requirements for the various professions who will perform risk reduction work are found under the "Contractors and Inspectors" link above.

Contact Information:

MDE Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
(410) 537-3825 or 1-800-633-6101, Ext.3825​

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