BALTIMORE, MD (June 20, 2007) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) today released the annual statewide Childhood Lead Registry surveillance statistics. The data shows that during calendar year 2006, more children were tested and the percentage of children with an elevated blood lead level slightly decreased.
“Reducing exposure to prevent poisoning is the core of lead poisoning prevention programs,” said MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson. “Working with state, local, and community partners, including the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, we are making good progress. Continued progress depends on property owners returning registration renewals on time and performing required risk reduction treatments before new tenants move in. Owners of rental properties built before 1950 who have not yet registered or performed required risk reduction treatments to their properties must come into compliance.”
The following are couple of key statistics from the 2006 Childhood Lead Registry annual survey:
- Children tested: Statewide, 102,974 children under the age of 6 years were tested, which is an increase over the 2005 figure of 99,148. In Baltimore City, 18,363 children were tested, an increase from 17,943 in 2005.
- Elevated blood lead level (EBL level): 1,274 children (or 1.2 percent) had an elevated blood lead level, which by law is 10 micrograms per deciliter or above. This is lower than the 1.3 percent in 2005. In Baltimore City, the EBL was 4.6 percent, which is down from 4.8 percent in 2005.
Lead is one of the most significant and widespread environmental hazards for children in Maryland. The effects of lead poisoning, a preventable disease, may result in poor school performance, inability to read, aggressive behavior, hearing loss or even mental retardation. Children are at greatest risk from birth to age six while their neurological systems are developing. MDE’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program serves as the coordinating agency of statewide efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning.
2006 Lead Survey Statistics
Among other data, the annual Childhood Lead Registry survey compiles all blood lead tests done on Maryland children 0-18 years of age, and provides blood lead test results to local health departments as needed for case management and planning. MDE has compiled this comprehensive assessment on statewide childhood blood lead screening since 1995. Maryland’s lead poisoning prevention goal is for no child to have an elevated blood lead level by the end of year 2010.
Lead paint dust from deteriorated lead paint or from renovation is the major source of exposure for children in Maryland. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2004 American Community Survey there are more than 449,000 residential houses built before 1950 (95 percent likely to contain lead paint) and 972,000 houses built between 1950-1979 (75 percent likely to have lead paint).
Water, air, and soil, may provide low-level, “background” exposure, but rarely causes childhood lead poisoning. Imported products, parental occupations, hobbies, and imported traditional medicines occasionally cause lead exposure among children.
To view the data online, and for more information about childhood lead poisoning prevention, please visit:
http://mde.maryland.gov/programs/land/LeadPoisoningPrevention/Pages/index.aspx or call 410-537-3847.
Press release updated after publication to correct website address