Lead poisoning cases in Maryland again drop to lowest level

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland environmental officials say the number of childhood lead poisoning cases has dropped to its lowest level yet again, despite an increase in the number of children tested.

News outlets report the Maryland Department of the Environment released a report Tuesday showing that less than 0.3 percent of children tested had blood lead levels at or above the state law-defined limit. Baltimore remained the jurisdiction with the highest number of lead poisonings, but the number of cases did fall 19 percent in 2017.

Maryland started requiring lead testing of 1- and 2-year-olds in 2016 to facilitate early intervention and treatment. The powerful neurotoxin is commonly found in paint and dust in older homes and can damage the nervous system of young children.

More than 143,000 children were tested in 2017.

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