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What is new in Lead Poisoning prevention in Maryland?​

In ​March 2016, Maryland implemented the Lead-Free Maryland Kids campaign and the updated clinical requirements for blood lead testing of childrenThe entire state of Maryland is now considered "at risk" for lead exposure, for children born on or after 1/1/15.  As a result, all children born on or after 1/1/15 must be tested for lead at ages 12 and 24 months.  Children born before 1/1/15 should continue to be managed according to the 2004 Lead Targeting Plan (which defines specific areas of the State as "at risk")Read More​​​

What is Lead Poisoning?

Lead poisoning affects many children younger than 6 years old in Maryland. Lead is often a home health hazard that can harm a child’s brain, causing lifelong learning and behavior problems. The symptoms of lead poisoning are not always easy to detect, but its effects are long-lasting.           

Lead dust in the home is caused by chipping, peeling, flaking or deteriorating lead-based paint and can exist in even the cleanest of homes. Lead can also be found in toys, jewelry, and other consumer products and may be brought home from some jobs.
Lead is a metal that can be toxic when swallowed or inhaled into the body. Children are most vulnerable from in the womb until age six. But all children at any age can be affected by lead poisoning. Dust from lead paint continues to be the number one source of childhood lead poisoning. It can cause delays in growth and development, behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

While the prevalence of elevated blood lead levels in children in Maryland has declined dramatically over the years, there are still children with persistently elevated blood lead levels from previous exposures and children who are newly exposed to lead every year. It is one of the most important environmental problems for children in Maryland.

Key Messages for Healthcare Providers and Families

*Lead is found in all areas of Maryland, from many different sources.*

*A blood lead test is the only sure way to know whether your child has been exposed to lead.*

*All Maryland children born on or after January 1, 2015 should have a blood lead test at 12 and 24 months of age.*​

Information for Health Care Providers

Lead Testing for Students

What is needed to enroll a child in child care, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten or first grade:  Maryland Blood Lead Testing Certificate (Form 4620)

Information for Parents and Caregivers

The most common sources of lead exposure are paint/lead dust from worn-out lead paint, soil, lead brought home from work (occupational lead), toys and jewelry, imported candies and food, and even water (due to leaded water pipes) and dishware. Although these are all possible sources, it is important to look at your child’s surroundings to see if these hazards could cause lead poisoning     

Information for Child Care Providers

More children in your care will need to have blood lead test certification in 2016.       
DHMH is working with the Maryland State Department of Education Office of Child Care to update any forms and prepare educational materials. Effective March 28, 2016, please use the revised DHMH form 4620.

Interactive Maps and Data

Strategy Projections              At-Risk Zip Codes


For more information, call the Environmental Health Helpline: 1-866-703-3266 or email