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Lead Poisoning In Maryland Drops To Lowest Recorded Levels

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)  — A report from the Maryland Department of the Environment shows that childhood lead poisoning cases in Maryland dropped to its lowest levels last year.

Details in the 2017 Childhood Blood Lead Surveillance report released Tuesday showed that less than 0.3 percent of children tested across Maryland showed blood lead levels at or above the state law-defined level of 10 micro grams per deciliter.

The low levels were reached even as blood lead testing rates increased under Maryland's universal testing initiative.

"Lead has no boundaries but we are making real progress in protecting children from lead poisoning," said Ben Grumbles, secretary for the Maryland Department of the Environment. "With universal testing, strong enforcement, and innovative partnerships among local, state, and federal agencies and the Green an Healthy Homes Initiative, we can eliminate this entirely preventable disease."

Blood testing rates in Maryland rose by 17.8 percent after Maryland began its universal testing initiative for 1-and-2-year-olds in 2016.

The report also tracks potential sources of lead exposure in reported cases of childhood lead poisoning and finds that while lead-based paint is still the most frequently seen hazard, a significant number of young children with elevated blood lead levels may have been exposed to lead from other sources such as cosmetics and spices.

"Through our collaborative efforts, these programs provide home visits and lead abatement resources for Medicaid eligible families across the entire state of Maryland," said Maryland Department of Health secretary, Robert Neall.

Much of the decline in blood lead levels is the result of Maryland's 1994 Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act. The report shows that since 1993, there has been more than a 98 percent decrease in reported cases of young children with lead poisoning.

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