Baltimore, MD – July 1, 2020 – Today, the State of Maryland fully implements the Maryland Healthy Children Act (HB1233) that lowers the blood lead action level in Maryland for environmental investigation of homes and medical case management for children. The law is an important step forward by requiring that the state and local health departments take action sooner to investigate and remediate lead hazards in homes when children are exposed to lead.
Maryland Healthy Children Act
The Maryland Healthy Children Act is a vital component of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative’s comprehensive prevention strategy and mandates that Maryland’s blood lead action level be lowered from 10 µg/dl to the CDC lead reference level (currently 5 µg/dl) for: (1) medical case management provided to children and (2) mandatory environmental investigations of rental and owner-occupied properties in Maryland. The Act will have numerous prevention benefits including:
- Over 1,100 more children annually will have their homes inspected by the Maryland Department of the Environment and local health departments to identify lead hazards that are causing the child’s elevated blood lead levels;
- Triggers environmental investigation and required lead hazard remediation at 5 µg/dl rather than waiting until a child has higher levels of lead poisoning or until a sibling is also lead poisoned in the home;
- Allows for Maryland’s blood lead action level to be lowered below 5 µg/dl in the future if the CDC lowers its blood lead reference level;
- Re-establishes Maryland as a best practices leader in lead poisoning prevention by adopting the CDC reference level as its action level.
Lowering of Lead Dust Standards in Maryland
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has adopted new regulations that go into effect today that help us advance our goal of reducing exposures to lead. GHHI recognizes MDE for its prevention efforts in implementing new regulations that lower the lead dust standards for Risk Reduction Certification, post remediation lead dust clearance testing and pre-intervention lead inspections to identify lead hazards. All properties undergoing lead hazard reduction must now meet these heightened standards that are designed to improve lead safe work practices and safety standards for occupants of pre-1978 constructed properties. The new standards for lead dust wipe samples in Maryland are:
- Floor – ≥10 µg/ft²
- Window Sill – ≥100 µg/ft²
- Window Well – ≥100 µg/ft²
“There is only one cure for lead poisoning and that is prevention. GHHI supports the lowering of the blood lead action level for children and the lead dust standards for homes built before 1978 in Maryland,” said GHHI President and CEO Ruth Ann Norton. “We must continue to increase the rate of our investment in remediating lead hazards in order to achieve the eradication of lead poisoning and address the social determinants of health.”
GHHI thanks Delegates Robbyn Lewis and Marvin Holmes for sponsoring the Maryland Healthy Children Act that will give our children a better opportunity to arrive in the classroom ready to learn, improve their school attendance and performance and be able to thrive.
Ruth Ann Norton
President and CEO