BALTIMORE, MD (June 1, 2001) – Efforts to eliminate a preventable environmental health hazard continue as Gov. Parris N. Glendening has proclaimed June 2-9 as Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Maryland.
Sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the Lead Poisoning Prevention Partnership and the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is comprised of week-long activities across the state that highlight what parents and property owners can do to prevent lead poisoning.
"Marylanders can do their part to protect their children by learning how to recognize potential exposure from lead in paint, dust or other sources," Governor Parris N. Glendening said. "By acting to reduce or control the sources and by assuring that young children be tested by their doctors, we can further protect our children. Maryland is proud to continue its work by promoting this special observance week, the spirit of which should carry on throughout the year in order to ensure a lead-safe world for our children."
A complete list of Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week events and tips can be found on MDE’s ‘Lead Line’ at www.mde.state.md.us/health/lead, or on the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning’s home page at www.leadsafe.org. These websites also include information on MDE's lead law for property owners, tenants, and parents.
"Childhood lead poisoning remains Maryland’s most critical environmental disease for children," said MDE Secretary Jane T. Nishida. "Over the past year, we have increased enforcement throughout the state, especially in areas of highest risk such as Baltimore City. The number of children with elevated blood lead levels is coming down, but there is still work to do. State and local agencies, parents, health care providers, home owners and rental property owners all have a role to play in eliminating childhood lead poisoning."
Throughout the year, MDE’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program assists local health departments with case management of lead poisoned children, and promotes locally based outreach. MDE also runs the statewide lead rental registry, conducts enforcement actions and coordinates with state and local agencies on lead poisoning prevention measures.
Parents can help by learning the sources of lead poisoning, and by getting their children tested. This is especially important for young children, who are at greatest risk from exposure to lead dust through normal hand-to-mouth behavior. Health care providers can help by assuring that children aged one and two years receive the appropriate screening for lead poisoning. Blood lead testing is now required at age one and two years for all children living in "at risk" areas statewide, living in Baltimore City, or receiving services through Medicaid.
Homeowners can help prevent lead poisoning by considering lead paint before beginning home renovation. Using lead-safe methods, or trained, accredited contractors can prevent creating a lead hazard in your home.
Rental property owners can help prevent lead poisoning by meeting the requirements under the state's Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Law. Rental properties built before 1950 must comply with the state's requirements for registration, inspection and tenant education. Grants and loans for lead hazard reduction are available statewide, with extra focus on Baltimore City.
For more information on childhood lead poisoning and its prevention call (800) 776-2706 or (800) 370-LEAD (5323).