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Maryland Department of the Environment

Maryland Department of the Environment Launches Awareness Campaign for Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Educational Videos to be Posted Daily on Social Media; More Stringent Standard for Environmental Investigations of Lead Poisoning Goes into Effect in 2024

BALTIMORE (Oct. 23, 2023) – As part of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the Maryland Department of the Environment is launching a public education campaign today on social media featuring animated videos spreading awareness about how to detect and respond to lead exposure. In support of the campaign, Governor Wes Moore has proclaimed Oct. 22-28 Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Maryland.

“No child should be left behind because of lead poisoning,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Serena McIlwain. “A lot of progress has been made, but we need to eliminate this threat to our most vulnerable children. Public education about the importance of getting tested, along with strong enforcement, will go a long way toward eradicating lead poisoning.”

Maryland is a national leader in reducing the risk of childhood lead poisoning from lead-based paint and dust. The state has made significant progress to reduce the number of children with elevated blood lead levels by more than 98 percent since 1996. All children in Maryland are required to be tested for lead at ages 1 and 2 or whenever an exposure is suspected. Early intervention to reduce further lead exposure is crucial.

To better protect Maryland children from lead exposure, effective last year the blood lead level that triggers notifications to parents and property owners and medical case management for children decreased from 5 to 3.5 micrograms/deciliter. This new lower level means there will be additional children identified who may benefit from state and local resources available to help families with lead-exposed children.

The Maryland Department of the Environment projects that more than 4,000 young children in Maryland will be identified with this lower blood level this year. Starting Jan. 1, a finding of this lower level in a young child or pregnant woman will lead to an environmental investigation and potential enforcement action by the Department of the Environment.

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