According to the state Department of the Environment, thousands of Maryland homes that were previously identified as lead-free, may actually be contaminated with the toxic element.
The Maryland Department of the Environment, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, is currently investigating approximately 2,000 homes after the work of a lead inspector – who was accredited between 1996 and 2014 – was called into question.
In 2014, a resident filed a complaint with the state about possible lead in their property. Upon further investigation it was determined that lead was present in the residence and that the lead-free certification it had received in 2010 was not valid.
After testing another ten facilities approved as lead-free by the inspector, it was found that seven were invalid. As the investigation continues, it remains unknown why the inspector signed off on the invalid certificates.
Investigating Thousands of Homes
Initially, the investigation covered 384 homes located in Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, which were inspected from 2009 to 2014. The investigation recently expanded to add 1,600 homes with inspections dating back to 1996. The investigation now includes homes in St. Mary’s, Howard, Charles and Baltimore counties, some of which are located in the city of Baltimore.
Since the investigation began in January, 80 homes have been retested and half of the lead-free certifications have been revoked because lead was found or the reinspection revealed that parts of the property were not included in the original inspection. Thirty-three of these homes tested positive for lead, which equates to approximately 2 out of 5 houses.
In accordance with state law, any Maryland home built prior to 1978 must be certified as lead-free before it can be rented; most of the homes affected by the retesting are rentals. The agencies say that their efforts to notify homeowners about the issue has been complicated. Notifications have been mailed to the initial 384 homeowners advising them to seek lead testing for children under six. Lead poisoning can affect a child’s behavior and cognitive skills.
Fortunately, none of the addresses affected by the retesting match the state’s registry of children with high blood-lead levels.If you or a family member suffered an injury caused by high levels of lead in your home despite having a lead-free certification, you may be entitled to compensation. The lead paint lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan will work to protect your family and help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.