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Lead Risk Reduction

Make sure the lead paint is in good shape. When lead paint  becomes damaged, either chipping, cracking, or peeling, it releases lead dust which is where contamination comes from. Repainting on a regular basis is necessary to maintain the integrity of the paint. 


Old wooden windows are often painted with lead paint, and the act of opening and closing them wears the paint at the contact points and can generate dust more quickly. Securing the top sashes to prevent movement, and leaving windows closed whenever possible can reduce this deterioration. Adding metal capping in the bottoms of the window wells can also make these areas easier to clean.


If you're having work done to your home, be sure to hire an RRP (Renovation Repair and Painting) Accredited firm. The EPA created this training program to help contractors improve work practices to minimize the release of lead dust from old paint. When the work is finished, hire an inspector to complete a clearance inspection to make sure there is no lead dust present.


Hard surfaces collect dust where children can come in contact with it. Carpeting traps dust in it's fibers and keeps it out of the reach of children. Wall to wall carpeting, or even throw rugs will trap some of the lead dust and reduce the risk of exposure.


The concrete floor of an unfinished basement is porous, and create an area for dust to accumulate. Often these areas do not get cleaned regularly as well. Painting the floor can create a smooth, easy to clean surface, that when combined with regular cleaning can significantly reduce the risk of dust accumulation. If you have the money to invest, a clear sealer in addition to the paint can make the floor more durable and eliminate the need for repainting.


The best form of prevention is early identification. If you live in a home that was built prior to 1978, and you have children, be sure to have them screened regularly. Early identification of elevated blood lead levels can let you know of a problem early, and a professional can help to identify the dangers, and how to mitigate them. Early identification can help prevent lasting damage.


Know the rules
  • Residential rental properties built before 1978 are required to be registered and then renewed annually with Maryland Department of the Environment.

  • Residential rental properties built after 1977 and properties that have a passing Lead Free inspection certificate are exempt.

  • On or after January 1, 2015, all properties built prior to 1978 must have a new lead inspection certificate at each change of occupancy.

Landlords who are renting Pre-1978 housing must register their property with MDE and have it tested for lead paint by an Accredited inspector prior to renting to tenants. 

  • A complete change in ownership requires a new registration and a new tracking number. This includes adding owners or changing to a corporation, etc.

  • Registration is specific to ownership of a property(ies) and should match exactly what is on record with Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Any different combination of ownership for a participating property will require an adjustment to the Lead Rental Registration file.  

  • If you are registering online between October 1st and December 31st you may immediately Renew that property(ies) after completing the initial Registration for it.

  • No matter how late in a calendar year you register a property(ies) it is required to renew that property(ies) for the following year on or before December 31st of that same calendar year.


How to pass a dust wipe inspection

There are a few things that can be done in advance to prepare for the upcoming inspection, and to make sure dust wipe samples do not fail.

  1. Make sure all paint on the property is in good shape. MDE requirements do not allow us to take dust samples from any property that has any deteriorated paint (chipping, cracking, flaking, peeling). We will conduct a visual inspection prior to taking samples, and if any deteriorated paint is found we will provide you an itemized list for correction before dust wipe samples can be taken.

  2. Ensure all floors and windows in the property are clean and in a "rent ready" condition. A single flake of lead dust the size of a grain of sand can cause a dust wipe sample to fail. Therefore it is imperative that a thorough cleaning be done in advance to eliminate any source of contamination. If a dust wipe sample fails, the room will need to be cleaned again and retested at additional cost. When cleaning, alcohol based cleaners like Windex are not effective at removing lead dust. You will need to use a cleaner with a surfactant (detergent) such as Simple Green, Mr Clean, Swiffer Wet or a similar product.


Is Lead Pant Dangerous

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Other sources include contaminated air, water and soil. Adults who work with batteries, do home renovations or work in auto repair shops also might be exposed to lead.

There is treatment for lead poisoning, but taking some simple precautions can help protect you and your family from lead exposure before harm is done.


Initially, lead poisoning can be hard to detect — even people who seem healthy can have high blood levels of lead. Signs and symptoms usually don't appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated.


Lead poisoning symptoms in children

Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children include:

  • Developmental delay

  • Learning difficulties

  • Irritability

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Sluggishness and fatigue

  • Abdominal pain

  • Vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Hearing loss

  • Seizures

  • Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren't food (pica)


Lead poisoning symptoms in newborns

Babies exposed to lead before birth might:

  • Be born prematurely

  • Have lower birth weight

  • Have slowed growth


Lead poisoning symptoms in adults

Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults might include:

  • High blood pressure

  • Joint and muscle pain

  • Difficulties with memory or concentration

  • Headache

  • Abdominal pain

  • Mood disorders

  • Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm

  • Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women

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