The change in Maryland’s lead law aims to reduce lead poisoning cases linked to homes built before 1978 and to help eliminate childhood lead poisoning in Maryland. The use of lead paint was prohibited in 1978, however, reports in recent years have shown that a significant percentage of new childhood lead poisoning cases are linked to homes built from 1950 to 1978. This law previously applied to properties built before 1950.
“We have proven this theory true with some recent inspections that we have completed within this timeframe,” Matthews said in the release.
Lead is one of the most significant and widespread environmental hazards for children and pregnant women in Maryland. Children are at greatest risk from birth to age 6 while their neurological systems are developing. Sustained exposure to lead can cause long lasting neurological damage or death.
The major source of exposure for children is lead paint dust from deteriorated lead paint or from home renovation. Most childhood exposure occurs through children’s normal hand-to-mouth activity after contact with a source of leaded dust. The most effective prevention of childhood lead poisoning is to reduce or eliminate exposure.
So, effective Jan. 1, all residential rental properties constructed prior to 1978 must comply with Maryland’s Lead Risk Reduction in Housing Act.
The law requires rental property owners to: register all their rental dwelling units every year with the Maryland Department of the Environment at a cost of $30, unless certified as lead free or limited lead free; have lead paint inspections prior to changes in tenancy; and distribute specific lead risk educational materials to tenants every two years even if the tenants have already received the information.
“If your property passes the lead free or limited lead free inspections, you never have to pay this $30 again,” Matthews said in the release. “So over time and tenant change over, this will pay for itself if you believe your property would be eligible. If you aren’t sure, please call us to discuss the dwelling’s history and we can recommend which test you should move forward with.”
Without certification and by not following approved practices, property owners can face fines and potential lawsuits.
“We know of several owners that have had fines handed out due to non conformance,” Matthews said in the release. “Chesapeake Lead Paint Inspections can help you with the inspections necessary to comply with the new law.”
Chesapeake Lead Paint Inspections, owned by Cindy and Eddie Matthews, is a full service inspection company based in Trappe. For more information, call Cindy at 410-463-0058, or visit www.chesapeakeleadpaintinspections.com.