Governor signs the Maryland Healthy Children Act (HB1233) to lower the blood lead action level in Maryland
Annapolis, MD, April 30, 2019 — Governor Larry Hogan today signed the Maryland Healthy Children Act (HB1233) which lowers the blood lead action level for medical case management provided to children and required mandatory environmental investigations of rental and owner-occupied properties in Maryland. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control determined that there was no level of lead in a child’s body in which harm does not occur and lowered the blood lead reference level to 5 µg/dl. Maryland is now in alignment with that CDC standard and a number of other states that have lowered their action level.
The law mandates that Maryland’s blood lead action level be lowered from 10 µg/dl to the CDC blood lead reference level (currently 5 µg/dl). “HB1233 is an important victory for Maryland children and families as it aligns with federal guidelines and provides for earlier inspections and interventions in homes to remediate lead hazards.” said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of GHHI. “The Maryland Healthy Children Act is a vital advancement in the state’s efforts to prevent and eliminate lead poisoning.”
The Maryland Healthy Children Act provides numerous prevention benefits including:
* Over 1,600 more children annually will have their homes inspected by MDE 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 practice leader in lead poisoning prevention by adopting the CDC reference level and a more aggressive action level.
Delegates Robbyn Lewis and Marvin Holmes were the lead sponsors of HB1233. The Bill also received support from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the City of Baltimore along with many advocacy, health and housing organizations.
Lead Poisoning Facts
Despite a 98% decline in lead poisoning in Maryland, 2,000 children are still lead poisoned annually. Lead-based paint was banned for use in residential properties in 1978 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Lead poisoning causes learning disabilities, loss of IQ, attention deficit disorder, speech development problems, and violent, aggressive behavior. Children poisoned by lead are 7 times more likely to drop out of school and 6 times more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system.
About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families. Formerly known as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, GHHI provides evidence-based direct services and technical assistance to create healthy, safe, and energy efficient homes. GHHI’s end goal is to improve health, economic, and social outcomes for low-income families while reducing public and private healthcare costs. To learn more, please visit ghhi.org and follow us @HealthyHousing.