Number Of Children With Lead Poisoning Lowest In Years

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—More than 500 Maryland children are suffering from lead poisoning–the lowest number in years.

But Andrea Fujii explains a new study shows there’s still lots of work to be done.

There’s a 98 percent drop in the number of Maryland children with lead poisoning from houses since 1993. That’s the result of a recent study by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

“The problem is still 2 percent of the ever-increasing growing number of children we’re testing that have lead poisoning,” said Dr. Bob Summers, Maryland Department of Environment.

Of the kids tested, 531 have an elevated blood lead level and 399 of those cases are brand new.

The study also found more than half of those new cases live in homes not covered by the state law to eradicate lead paint. That includes homes built after 1950 but before 1978 when lead paint was banned.

“People who were not as aware as they should have been of the fact that their kids are at risk,” said Ruth Ann Norton, Coalition to End Lead Poisoning.

India Austin is one of hundreds of lead paint victims, who successfully sued the city after living in lead contaminated housing.

“I have a bad attitude,” Austin said. “I can’t function right. I can never get a job. I take my anger out on everyone.”

Studies show delinquent behavior, learning disabilities, and even death are just some risks associated with lead poisoning.

“It increases the rate of early mortality by 46 percent so it impacts a child for their lifetime,” Norton said.

Health experts say a push for more legislation and education is the only way to eliminate this preventable danger.

A bill passed by the General Assembly this year calls for stricter standards for landlords of pre-1950 properties, requiring a dust test to check for lead paint.

To find more information on whether your home may contain lead, go here.


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