Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (Oct. 25, 2005) --Maryland’s 2005 Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week activities continue as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning holds a press conference TOMORROW, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. to announce the opening of a new Eastern Shore office established in partnership with the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. The press conference will be held at the First Baptist Church, located at 528 Booth St. in Salisbury.

MDE is the principle state agency charged with lead poisoning prevention. MDE also runs the statewide lead rental registry, conducts enforcement actions and coordinates with state and local agencies on lead poisoning prevention measures. 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.

Since 1997 the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning has received approximately $250,000 annually from MDE in an on-going cooperative effort to eliminate lead poisoning by conducting outreach efforts and tenant assistance. For the past eight years, MDE and the coalition have collaborated on efforts to fight lead poisoning in children including rallies, community health events, legislative actions and many other activities aimed at educating and assisting Maryland families impacted by the preventable disease.

Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed the state’s lead poisoning initiative into law in May that sets the goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning in Maryland by 2010.

Maryland’s 2005 Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week began Sunday and runs through Oct. 29, coinciding with the Centers for Disease Control national recognition of this issue. 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.

The effects of lead poisoning may result in poor school performance, inability to read, aggressive behavior, hearing loss or even mental retardation. By 2000, nearly one million U.S. children under the age of six had blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter, which is considered to be an elevated level by the Centers for Disease Control.