Lead poisoning in Maryland
Lead poisoning remains a serious problem in Baltimore
Despite efforts to address the urgent health issue of lead poisoning, as many as one in six children in certain Baltimore neighborhoods still enter school with elevated blood lead levels. Lead exposure remains a serious problem that can cause the diminishment of IQ levels, as well as neurobehavioral issues such as attention deficit disorder, reduced hearing acuity and adverse effects on the cardiovascular, renal and immune systems.
Moreover, fetuses, infants and children are more susceptible to lead exposure than adults because lead is more easily absorbed into their bodies, and their tissues are more vulnerable to the damaging effects of lead.
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility advocates for improved monitoring, reporting and intervention programs for lead poisoning in Maryland. We support state and local efforts to reduce lead poisoning and help facilitate efforts by health groups, housing advocates and environmental organizations to develop legislative and policy agendas that lead to reduced lead exposure in children.
In 2017 and 2018, Chesapeake PSR will focus on passing state-wide legislation to require environmental investigations and interventions to be conducted when children have elevated blood levels greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that lower threshold than Maryland law, which sets it at 10 micrograms per deciliter.
The following outlines some of the work we are doing on this important issue in Maryland.
Mapping Blood Poisoning in Maryland
Engaging Maryland health professionals on policy
In 2016, Chesapeake PSR held two workshops in conjunction with MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, for health professionals and advocates to develop a common advocacy agenda to end lead poisoning in Maryland. Dr. Cliff Mitchell of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, at left, updates participants on the state's new testing requirements. Read presentations from the two workshops by clicking here.
Advocating for better monitoring of and reductions in lead air emissions
Chesapeake PSR also advocates for better monitoring and reporting of lead air emissions in the Baltimore area. A review of federal and state air emissions reports by Chesapeake PSR in 2015 found significant problems in the way the Maryland Department of the Environment monitors, collects, and reports information on lead air emissions from industrial facilities.
Chesapeake PSR also sent a letter in 2016 to MDE Secretary Ben Grumbles asking for a moratorium on new lead-emitting facilities in Southern Baltimore, including Curtis Bay. We also wrote to 12 entities asking that they not purchase energy from a proposed incinerator in Curtis Bay that was permitted to emit 1,000 pounds of lead per year.
Our letter to Baltimore City is here.
How you can help
Read about Chesapeake PSR's positions on state lead legislation here. Contact our executive director, Tim Whitehouse, at email@example.com, to see how you can become involved in working on lead issues in Maryland.