August 14, 2015 | Baltimore Sun

Housing chief suggests mothers may deliberately expose children to lead

Gov. Larry Hogan's top housing official said Friday that he wants to look at loosening state lead paint poisoning laws, saying they could motivate a mother to deliberately poison her child to obtain free housing. Kenneth C. Holt, secretary of Housing, Community and Development, told an audience at the Maryland Association of Counties summer convention here that a mother could just put a lead fishing weight in her child's mouth, then take the child in for testing and a landlord would be liable for providing the child with housing until the age of 18.

Ruth Ann Norton, a longtime advocate for reducing lead poisoning, said Holt appears to be confused about what Maryland law requires landlords to do. She said there is no requirement that they provide shelter until an exposed child turns 18, only that they provide safe housing while lead abatement is under way at the original residence.

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