Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that at least seven Maryland homes, originally certified as lead-free, were actually contaminated with lead paint or not inspected in the first place. The Maryland environmental department and the EPA will begin a broader investigation into this violation. Maryland legislators have distributed notices to over 384 families urging parents to have their children tested for lead poisoning.
In December, an investigation by the Baltimore Sun found that while lead poisoning in the City of Baltimore has gone down in the recent decades, more than 4,900 children have been affected. Nearly 129 children were affected in 2015 alone. Lead poisoning has irreversible affects on children, resulting in brain damage that can go years without being detected once the damage is done. Saul Kerpelman, a lawyer handling thousands of lead cases, told The Guardian that if acceptable lead exposure went to zero, as many as 10,000 people could have been exposed to lead. Currently, the accepted federal level of lead exposure is 5 micrograms per deciliter.
Lead paint poisoning disproportionately affects those in low-income housing, as those homes tend to not be met with the same type of certification scrutiny has newer homes.