Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (December 2, 2003) –The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has issued a complaint and penalties totaling $100,000 against Baltimore City landlord Ali Sardorizadeh for violations of the state's lead laws.

Sardorizadeh and a company he controls, Ferdosi Inc., own four residential rental properties that were not registered with MDE and are not in compliance with lead hazard risk reduction standards. Some of the violations go back as far as 1998.

The state enacted strict laws to protect people from lead exposure. Children are especially susceptible to lead poisoning, which may result in poor school performance, inability to read, aggressive behavior, hearing loss or even mental retardation.

“We have made tremendous progress in Maryland in reducing lead poisoning among our children,” said Kendl P. Philbrick, the Acting Secretary of the Environment. “And we will continue to be aggressive in enforcing these laws designed to protect children.”

Jonas A. Jacobson, director the MDE’s Waste Management Administration, which oversees the state’s lead program, said the circumstances of the case are particularly egregious. Sardorizadeh is currently an employee of the Baltimore City Health Department's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

“A person employed as a lead inspector should be aware of the Maryland lead law and of the potential risk posed to children by lead hazards,” Jacobson said.

MDE has ordered Sardorizadeh and Ferdosi, Inc. to bring the properties into compliance with the state’s full risk reduction standard within 30 days. No children under the age of six and no pregnant women may be present during lead hazard reduction treatments, and the landlord must provide for temporary relocation of tenants during the procedure.

Maryland's Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Law, enacted in 1994, requires owners of rental property constructed before 1950 to meet a lead hazard risk reduction standard. Property owners are required to meet the standard whenever there is tenant turnover. As of Feb. 24, 2001 property owners were required to ensure that no less than 50 percent of their units were in compliance with the lead hazard risk reduction standard. Owners of residential rental dwellings units constructed before 1950 are required to register each affected property with MDE.

Property owners may call (800) 776-2706 for lead law compliance information and property registration.

Maryland's fight against lead poisoning has made great strides in the last few years through increased enforcement, property owner education and community awareness. In 1999 for example, 555 Maryland children were diagnosed with blood lead levels that exceeded the lead poisoning standard. In 2002 that number dropped to 260.

Lead poisoning continues to impact more children in Baltimore City than other Maryland jurisdictions.