The lead water situation in Flint, Mich., has amplified lead poisoning across the country, including cities like Chicago and Baltimore. With increased attention now on the risks of lead, more and more residents are holding their officials accountable. An estimated 56,000 Baltimore City children continue to be at risk of lead poisoning due to lead paint exposure.
For Maryland’s part, the Department of Environment estimates that at least 95% of housing units built before 1978, when lead paint was banned, contain lead. The Baltimore health department now maintains a “lengthy list of apartments and homes with lead hazard violations that have not been fixed, meaning a child in the home had an elevated lead level in is or her blood…” This has caused Baltimore to encourage those in these lead paint exposed homes to get tested.
Lead paint exposure disproportionately affects those in low-income housing, where renovations and upkeep isn’t a priority for some landlords. With the increased attention on lead paint exposure, residents in these low-income neighborhoods are now suing landlords for alleged lead poisoning.