Lead Poisoning

Lead Poisoning Prevention

The Baltimore City Health Department seeks to reduce lead poisoning in the City of Baltimore through primary prevention and aggressive enforcement of the city's lead laws. Lead poisoning has decreased significantly since 2000. 

What is Lead?
Lead is a poisonous metal that was used in building construction and in the making of other household paints prior to 1978. Even though its use was banned, lead still remains a hazard in many places. When something with lead in it starts to deteriorate, it becomes dust, which is poisonous if you breathe it or eat it.

Where is Lead Found?

Lead can be found on painted surfaces inside and outside the home. Lead is usually found in:

  • Window sills
  • Window frames
  • Door Frames
  • Door jambs
  • Railings
  • Steps
  • Soil

Lead Can Also Be Found In:

  • Jewelry
  • Toys
  • Batteries
  • Crystal
  • Ceramics (pottery)
  • Cosmetics

Who is Most at Risk?

  • Children (1-6 years of age)
  • Pregnant women
  • Unborn Fetuses

What are Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite

What Do I Do if I am Concerned My Child has Been Exposed to Lead?
The best thing to do is to call your pediatrician and ask them to perform a lead test.
If you don’t have a pediatrician, call the Baltimore Health Care Access hotline to get assistance with insurance and other community health resources.

Phone at 410-649-0500 (Spanish and English speaking)

There are some locations that offer reduced cost lead testing:
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Care-A-Van
Phone: 410-550-5818 for general information (Spanish and English speaking)
Phone: 410-913-5126 to make an appointment at one of the mobile sites.

Baltimore Medical Systems (Spanish and English speaking)
You can find a list of their health centers by clicking here.

What Are the Effects of Lead Poisoning?
Lead poisoning can cause:

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Severe Brain Damage
  • Memory Loss
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Stunted Growth
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney Damage
  • Seizures
  • Coma/Death

How Can I Prevent Lead Poisoning?
Lead poisoning can be prevented and controlled by:

  • Blood testing children 1-6
  • Getting your home visually inspected and dust tested
  • Keeping your home free of chipping and peeling paint
  • Keeping your home free of dust
  • Frequently washing your hands
  • Washing toys and pacifiers that children often put in their mouth
  • Practicing good nutrition
  • Using a HEPA vacuum

What Buildings Have Outstanding Lead Violations?

Click here to find out if an apartment or house has a recent lead hazard violation that has not been fixed.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program 
The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program provides: Legal Enforcement - Outreach & Education

  • Case management for children with lead poisoning.

Contact us: Call 443-984-2460

Baltimore City Health Department - Lead Program
7 East Redwood, 2nd Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone (443) 984-2470

10/20/10 Lead Hazard Abatement Regulations 2009 (pdf)

Resources for Parents, Tenants, Home-Owners and Providers

Lead in Soil: What You Need to Know (pdf)
How to Clean Your House and Reduce Lead Dust (pdf)
Reporting Elevated Blood Lead Levels (Form - pdf)

Related Links

Recent Lead Hazard Violations

More Information

Healthy Homes 2009 Transition Report --Resource for lead poisoning prevention programs transitioning to a Healthy Homes model
Maryland Department of the Environment Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

General Health Information
Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead Awareness Program
National Lead Information Center

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

 Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control 

Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning

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