From the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning:

Lead Dust Testing and Lead Safe Demolition Bills are scheduled for hearings next week in the Maryland General Assembly as noted below.  We need your participation, advocacy, and support to get these Bills passed and to improve protections for families and children!

SB504/HB1153 – Lead Dust Testing Bills

Toxic leaded dust in older housing has poisoned generations of children for far too long. An invisible hazard, toxic leaded dust is a primary source of childhood lead poisoning.  Maryland has the opportunity to take an important step to eliminate childhood lead poisoning by ensuring that rental properties are tested for the presence of lead containing dust.

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.

SB504 and HB1153 require an owner of an affected property to satisfy both full and modified reduction standards by passing a lead dust test pursuant to § 6-816 of the Maryland Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Law.

On Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 1:00 PM, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will be hearing SB504 in the Judicial Proceedings hearing room in the Miller Senate Office Building.  On Friday, March 5, 2010 at 1:00 PM, the House Environmental Matters Committee will be hearing HB1153 in the Environment Matters hearing room in the House Office Building.  Please contact your legislators immediately, and ask them to support these bills.

The Lead Dust Testing Bill was voted out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in 2009 and we need your support to get it passed out of the Senate and House this year.

Contact your representatives and the Members of the Committee in the Maryland General Assembly and tell them that you support SB504 and HB1153!  It is also important to call House Environmental Matters Chairman Maggie McIntosh at 410-841-3990 and Senate Judicial Proceedings Chairman Brian Frosh at 410-841-3623 to let them know how important this Bill is to lead poisoning prevention.

HB912/SB544 – Lead Safe Demolition Bills

Demolition and redevelopment should not exacerbate existing risks of lead poisoning.  Studies have shown that there is a substantial acute increase in lead dust fall during demolition and debris removal activities.  As a result of the potential increase in lead resulting from demolition activity, it is important to ensure that demolition is conducted in a manner that minimizes lead exposure for residents, workers and the environment.

Demolition of a structure or mass of material built before 1978 can result in exposure to lead hazards.  This exposure occurs because 1) neighboring and adjacent communities are not aware of the potential lead hazards and 2) preventative measures are not implemented state wide to minimize exposure to lead hazards resulting from the demolition of residential units that contain lead.  This legislation will minimize lead exposure by requiring the statewide adoption of several lead exposure preventative measures.

SB544/HB912 requires that:

  • A Contractor Apply for a Demolition Permit Before a Structure or Mass of Material Built Before 1978 is Wrecked, Razed, Rended, Moved or Removed Using Any Tool, Equipment, or Explosive; and
  • A Contractor Provide Written Notice of the Scheduled Demolition to the Owners of all Properties within 100 meters of the demolition site; and
  • A Contractor submit a removal plan that outlines how they will safely remove and redistribute or remove any architectural material in a residential unit build before 1978; and
  • A Contractor Develop a Main Truck Route that Minimizes Disruptions to the Neighboring Community; and
  • A Contractor Begin Remove Debris Within 10 Days After Completion of Demolition; and
  • Secure the Demolition Site During the Demolition Phase and After Demolition and Debris Removal.

On Wednesday, March 3, 2010, at 1:00 PM, the House Economics Matters Committee will be hearing HB912.  On Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 1:00 PM the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will be hearing SB544.

Written letters are an effective means of communicating your support. Additionally, you can email your support to members of the House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.