Governor’s Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 3, 1998) -- To inform Marylanders about the number one preventable environmental health threat to children, Governor Parris N. Glendening has proclaimed Monday, June 8 to Sunday, June 14, as Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Maryland.

This year’s theme is "Make Maryland Lead Safe in 98: Test Your Child, Check Your Home." Screening children with a blood test for lead is an important way to find out if a child is exposed or poisoned.

"Each year, many of our children are unnecessarily exposed to the potential hazards of lead," said Governor Glendening. "Lead poisoning symptoms don’t often appear until the poisoning is very severe and even low lead levels in the blood can affect a child’s ability to learn. The best weapon that we have to combat this threat is public awareness."

Lead poisoning is caused primarily by deteriorating lead-based paint, which produces chips and dust. Children become lead poisoned when they ingest or inhale the chips and dust through normal hand-to-mouth activities. Adults and pets also are susceptible.

"Regrettably for many parents, the issue of lead poisoning does not hit home until their own child is affected," said Maryland Secretary of the Environment Jane T. Nishida. "Every family can play an active role in preventing childhood lead poisoning by having their children’s blood tested, and checking their homes for deteriorating paint."

"Lead poisoning negatively affects the optimal health and well-being of our children, often resulting in unnecessary physical, emotional, and intellectual deficits," added Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dr. Martin P. Wasserman.

The public is invited to attend the Kick-Off Festival on June 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Virginia Baker Recreation Center at Patterson Park, 2601 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore. The event will feature refreshments and free blood lead screenings. Other special events being held during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week are listed on the attachment to this news release.

For more information about lead poisoning prevention or any special events, call the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (410) 631-3859 or 1-800-633-6101.