DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ) — In 2020, 1,171 Maryland children tested positive for having too much lead in their blood. Landon Graham was one of them.

“I was contacted by his doctor’s office saying his lead levels were 16,” his mother, Magain Fitzgerald, told WJZ.

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According to the CDC, a dangerous level of lead for a child is anything about five micrograms per deciliter. Landon’s was more than triple that.

His dad knew something was up. “At one point he was starting to be angry biting and acting weird,” said Lance Graham.

Thousands of children in the US are poisoned by lead each year. Though rental units in Maryland have to test for and disclose lead information, an inspection is not required when buying a home. This family had no idea there was lead paint in their house because it looked newly renovated.

Magain Fitzgerald and Lance Graham moved out of their home for a short time while state agencies went to work fixing the problem. “In a matter of months they moved us out into another situation, they came in, fully renovated, lead abated the home, and repainted and made it more safe,” Fitzgerald said.

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The Department of Housing, the Department of the Environment and the Public Housing Department took over the bill for the $178,000 in repairs and relocation.

Landon does have to take speech therapy and see other doctors for the lingering impacts of lead poisoning.

“He does have some anger issues we’re working on, and a little bit of progression issues with his age… so there are a few things I’m trying to combat because of the lead,” Fitzgerald said.

“We will not move the needled on health and racial equity until we solve the problem of the condition of our housing stock,” said Ruth Ann Norton, CEO of Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.

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Oct. 24 through Oct. 30 is Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. To find inspectors for lead if you buy a home, click here.

Rachael Cardin