Lead poisoning is a huge issue in cities with an aging housing stock–like, say, Baltimore–and its effects can linger on for years. Many children in Baltimore already get their lead levels tested, but even more will soon, thanks to Governor Hogan’s new plan to make lead testing a requirement for all one- and two-year-olds in Maryland.
Until now, the state has focused its lead testing efforts on the most at-risk populations: children living in poor areas and/or places where most houses were built before 1950, when lead paint was more prevalent. Under the new plan, hundreds of thousands more children will get their lead levels assessed. Only a handful of states have such mandatory screening programs in place.
According to the Baltimore Sun, last year 355 children were diagnosed with lead poisoning, with another 2,004 suffering from lower (but still problematic) lead levels. The hope is that early, universal testing will help prevent–or at least mitigate against–what the CDC calls “a major, preventable environmental health problem in the United States.”
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