In a WBAL News video, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce has stated that the Chamber is opposed to Senate Bill 504, a bill that would require the use of lead dust testing instead of a visual inspection when determining lead safety in a home or apartment.
In an effort to prevent childhood lead poisoning in pre-1950 rental units, it is critical to determine the potential lead hazards that exist before a tenant moves into the rental unit. Visual inspections, currently allowed by Maryland law, fail to assess dangerous lead dust exposure. The most effective and reliable method to determine potential exposure to lead hazards is the use of dust testing. Dust testing also provides information to the property owner and tenant about potential lead dust hazards invisible to the naked eye.
Most reputable and experienced property owners or property managers will only perform dust tests because the tests are considered more reliable than visual inspections. 77% of Maryland Rental Property Owners required to comply with the risk reduction standards already use the lead dust testing method of inspection. 73% of Baltimore City Rental Property Owners required to comply with the risk reduction standards already opt to do lead dust clearance testing. A HUD funded research study of the Maryland law by the National Center for Healthy Housing found that 60% of the affected rental properties that it studied that had passed a visual inspection failed lead dust clearance testing.
250 children in Baltimore are poisoned each year with lead paint — in homes that were previously determined safe via a visual inspection. This is an unacceptable number. Contrary to the Chamber’s claims, the dust test would reduce the number of lead exposure cases, since the test is more comprehensive, and more accurate than a visual inspection. Landlords would benefit in the long run — add the cost of the test, and any lead abatement that needs to be done as a result of the test — that’s still far cheaper than hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and settlement costs for multiple lawsuits. A few hundred dollars, folks. Versus thousands, perhaps even millions.
Let the Maryland Chamber of Commerce know how you feel about this issue. Email Allyson Black, VP of Government Affairs: [email protected] .