Hogan Announces New Initiative to Reduce Lead Poisoning, Asthma Cases

Lead poisoning and asthma are two conditions related to housing. In an effort to ensure that Marylanders have access to safe and healthy housing, The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved an application by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to launch a $7.2 million initiative to reduce lead poisoning and asthma, according to a news release.

The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will collaborate with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to implement the initiative.

“This funding is a major step forward in our efforts to prevent these health problems and provide a healthy and safe environment for all Marylanders,” Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement. “This funding is a major step in preventing these health problems and providing a healthy and safe environment for our most vulnerable citizens.”

The new initiative will be comprised of two parts. The first program will allow Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids, the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Housing and Community Development, to join forces to expand lead identification and abatement programs. The second program, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention & Environmental Case Management, aims to strengthen local health department programs that help families and health care providers identify and eliminate sources of lead exposures and asthma triggers in homes.

“We know that housing conditions can severely affect a child’s health, and this program would enable us to get to the root of the problems for many children,”said Dennis Schrader, Maryland Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, in a statement. “It would go beyond merely treating a child with asthma or lead poisoning – it would seek to prevent exposures to the triggers, causes and social determinants of these conditions, which is the best means of preventing the lifelong impacts of these diseases.”

Exposure to lead can result in major physical and neurological damage to children. Low-income children who live in older housing are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure.

Childhood asthma is one of the lead causes of missed days of school and emergency room visits. These consequences are more severe in low-income families. Improvements in these two conditions will be a significant benefit to Maryland’s children and families.

To find out more about this new initiative, click here.

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