For the Cumberland Times-News
CUMBERLAND — To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Allegany County Health Department is promoting National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week from Oct. 20 through 26. Lead is one of the most significant and widespread environmental hazards for children in Maryland, according to the health department.
The theme for this week, Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future, underscores the importance of testing both the home and the child, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects.
Nearly half a million children living in the U.S. have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The estimate is based on children with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter or higher using data from national surveys conducted in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. Major sources of lead exposure include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings. Additional sources include contaminated drinking water, take-home exposures from a workplace and lead in soil.
Even if a young child seems healthy, ask the doctor to test for lead.
All Maryland properties built before 1950 are required to comply with state lead laws, and each property must be inspected before a new tenant occupies it. Landlords must provide tenants with a copy of the inspection certificate either in person or via certified mail.
New tenants should receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s pamphlet titled Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home and also a copy of the Maryland Notice of Tenant’s Rights. To find out if a rental property is registered and has been inspected, call the Maryland Department of the Environment at 410-537-3000 or go to http://www.mde. state.md.us.
For more information, contact Tina Tindal, lead coordinator at the health department, 301-759-5077 or go to www.alleganyhealthdept.com. Information is also available at 800-424-LEAD.