Homes across Baltimore, Md., have been found to have high levels of hazardous lead exposure. While Baltimore banned lead paint in 1950, decades before lead paint was banned across the country in 1978, lead paint continues to impact the lives of Baltimore residents. Yet, despite many efforts from the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, hundreds of children in Baltimore continue to be poisoned every year and nearly half a million children suffer from lead poisoning nationwide. These high numbers primarily come from living in neglected and old houses in low-income communities.
Attention to Baltimore’s lead exposure crisis emerged after the death of Freddie Gray who was fatally injured while in police custody. Court documents reveled that Gray had “devastatingly high blood-lead levels as a toddler, an amount medical experts say surely would have harmed his ability to focus and learn in school or even hold a steady job.”
The family of Gray sued the property owner over poisoning and received a settlement. The biggest problem comes from landlords and property owners who don’t follow through in certifying homes as lead-free, leading to instances like one where the EPA is investigating one private inspector who may have wrongly certified nearly 400 rental units as lead-free.
"There should be a program initiated to remove lead from every home in the country," says attorney Brian Brown, who sues landlords on behalf of lead-poisoned children. "There's no doubt in my mind that if rich white kids were the ones being poisoned by lead, this problem would have been solved 75 years ago."
To learn more about how the city of Baltimore is tackling lead paint, click below.