SILVER SPRING, MD (June 4, 2003) -- More than 1,000 rental apartments in suburban Maryland will undergo lead hazard reduction treatments, reducing the threat of lead paint poison. Under a settlement agreement between the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Northwest Park Associates, a large regional property owner, 140 rental apartments in Prince George’s County and 873 rental apartments in Montgomery County will undergo risk reduction treatment over the next two years.
“These enforcement settlements emphasize our message to landlords not to ignore the hazards of lead paint poisoning and the role they play in reducing that risk,” said Acting MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “MDE is continuing to focus its resources to vigorously enforce the state’s lead laws. At the same time, MDE values the role responsive property owners play in reaching compliance. ”
The comprehensive settlement agreement resolves a notice of violation that MDE issued against Northwest Park Associates as a result of the presence of a lead poisoned child in one of its Prince George’s County units, located in the 100 block of Southampton Drive. The child resided in a unit where lead hazards were present and recorded a blood lead level of 30 micrograms per deciliter. Blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter are considered to be an elevated level by the Centers for Disease Control. MDE was notified of the impact to the child as a result of blood lead testing from another source.
State lead laws require that all rental properties built before 1950 be registered with MDE and comply with certain risk reduction treatments. The treatments are required whenever there is tenant turnover, upon receipt of notice that a property has chipping, peeling, flaking paint or that a child with an elevated blood lead level resides in the dwelling unit. Property owners also have to insure that 50 percent of their rental units have been brought into compliance with the risk reduction standards regardless of whether there was turnover or other triggering event.
As part of the settlement agreement, Northwest Park agreed to voluntarily bring the 873 rental apartments in Montgomery County, which were built after 1949, into compliance with the lead free standard in exchange for a reduction in its civil penalty that could have reached $100,000.
This settlement is another example of MDE’s enforcement strategy to encourage landlords to exceed minimum state lead hazard reduction standards to make properties safer for families. Maryland’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is proud to report that with this settlement, more than 5,000 dwelling units have been required to meet risk reduction treatment standards.
The settlement is being announced on the third day of Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Maryland, which runs though June 9. Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is comprised of week-long activities across the state to raise awareness and highlight what parents and property owners can do to prevent lead poisoning.
“Throughout the year, MDE’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program assists local health departments with case management of lead poisoned children and locally based outreach and education,” Philbrick added. “State and local agencies, parents, health care providers, home owners and rental property owners all have a role to play in eliminating childhood lead poisoning.”
A complete list of Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week events and tips can be found on MDE’s Lead Line at www.mde.state.md.us/CitizensInfoCenter/health/lead, or on the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning’s website at www.leadsafe.org. For more information on childhood lead poisoning and its prevention call (800) 776-2706 or (800) 370-LEAD (5323).
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