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Tim Wheeler | April 9, 2012
A bill that would require landlords with units built before 1978 to protect their tenants from lead-paint hazards cleared the General Assembly tonight, along with a provision urging courts to penalize baseless litigation over the problem. HB644 , approved in a conference agreement by House and Senate, would extend lead-paint regulations that now cover all rental homes in Maryland built before 1950. The bill also authorizes the state to regulate repairs, renovations and painting in all homes where lead paint is present.
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Timothy B. Wheeler and The Baltimore Sun | September 28, 2014
The decades-long decline in lead-poisoned children in Maryland has essentially stalled, but state officials said Thursday they are taking steps in the coming months to address gaps in the marathon effort to eliminate the environmental health threat. Statewide, 2,622 youngsters up to age 6 were found to have harmful levels of lead in their blood last year, according to an annual report just released by the Maryland Department of the Environment. That's down 4 percent from 2012, though the number of children with seriously elevated lead levels grew slightly, from 364 to 371. Exposure to even minute amounts of lead can harm still-developing brains and nervous systems of young children, leading to learning and behavioral problems.
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NEWS
June 10, 2014
Timothy Wheeler and Meredith Cohn 's article on lead-paint lawsuits underscores a much larger issue in Baltimore: Most lead-poisoned children live in poverty ( "Lead-paint lawsuits dogs Kennedy Krieger," June 7). Adverse childhood experiences such as community violence, discrimination, parental separation and divorce, incarceration and malnutrition are increasingly appreciated as circumstances that make children more vulnerable to environmental toxins like lead. Lead abatement doesn't completely remove lead from homes.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and The Baltimore Sun | September 22, 2014
A Baltimore jury has awarded nearly $2.1 million to a 17-year-old city youth who was allegedly poisoned by lead paint in the 1990s when he was a toddler in an East Baltimore rental home. The judgment against Elliot Dackman and the estates of Sandra and Bernard Dackman came Friday in Baltimore Circuit Court, at the end of the weeklong trial of a lawsuit brought on behalf of Daquantay Robinson by his mother, Tiesha Robinson. The jury verdict shows the long-running tide of litigation over the widespread use of lead-based paint in Baltimore's older rental housing has yet to ebb, according to Bruce Powell, the Robinsons' lawyer.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | September 28, 2012
Annapolis lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano has been fined $13,000 by the Maryland Department of the Environment for allegedly violating state lead-paint regulations on two properties he owns in the capital. But Bereano disputes the state's charges, saying the homes he rents out are lead-free. According to a state complaint, an MDE inspector saw chipping, peeling or flaking paint on the exterior of one of the two properties on Pinkney Street in June. The department had been asked to check out the properties by the city of Annapolis, which also regulates rental housing.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 10, 2014
The Maryland Department of the Environment has not followed up on at least 900 rental housing units with hazardous lead paint whose owners failed to maintain annual registration with the agency, state auditors have found. In a letter this week to a joint House-Senate committee, the Office of Legislative Audits said that in the past three years the MDE has reduced but not eliminated a backlog of rental housing units that need checking to find out why they are no longer registered as available to tenants with young children.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | February 28, 2011
Baltimore, where thousands of buildings contain lead-based paint that can poison young children, has lost federal funding for abatement programs due to mismanagement of its most recent grant, officials said Monday. Department of Housing and Urban Development officials told The Baltimore Sun that the city health department failed to fix up enough homes under the latest $4 million grant, which expired in January, and as a result the city was deemed a "high-risk" grantee ineligible to receive more funds.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | December 21, 2010
A Baltimore landlord jailed last week for dragging his feet in fixing lead paint poisoning risks in his rental units was freed Tuesday after pledging to deal with the last two of his properties that had not been treated. Baltimore Circuit Judge W. Michel Pierson ordered Cephus M. Murrell released from the detention center, where he'd been held since Thursday for contempt of court. Jay Apperson, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, which had hauled the landlord into court, said Murrell had signed contracts to treat lead-paint poisoning risks in two of the three properties he still had not fixed at the time he was jailed.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | July 19, 2011
A Baltimore landlord with a history of violations of lead paint abatement laws agreed to plead guilty Tuesday to three misdemeanor violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Cephus Murrell, who owns and manages 175 apartments in Baltimore, failed to notify tenants of potential hazards from lead paint, conducted abatement while children were on site and did not have a supervisor on site during the abatement, according to the office of the...
NEWS
August 14, 2013
The Housing Authority of Baltimore City has finally done the right thing in paying the remaining $6.8 million it owed in lead paint liability claims. Had the agency not worked so long to avoid its legal responsibility for the damages caused by past negligence, those suffering the consequences of lead poisoning from public housing might have been helped much sooner, and the agency might now be in a much stronger position to handle its potential future liability from other claims. Nonetheless, this action at least sets a precedent that the agency will not in the future seek to ignore its legal responsibilities.
NEWS
June 10, 2014
Timothy Wheeler and Meredith Cohn 's article on lead-paint lawsuits underscores a much larger issue in Baltimore: Most lead-poisoned children live in poverty ( "Lead-paint lawsuits dogs Kennedy Krieger," June 7). Adverse childhood experiences such as community violence, discrimination, parental separation and divorce, incarceration and malnutrition are increasingly appreciated as circumstances that make children more vulnerable to environmental toxins like lead. Lead abatement doesn't completely remove lead from homes.
NEWS
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | June 9, 2014
How do public health experts handle research when they know they cannot offer subjects the best medical treatment possible - only "less than the best" solutions? It poses serious ethical issues, especially when children are involved in the research, as a controversial Kennedy Krieger Institute study shows. Just 20 years ago, most houses in East Baltimore contained lead paint that was known to be poisoning children at epidemic levels. Amid the crisis, researchers at the pediatric hospital sought cheap, effective abatement techniques because full-scale cleanup could cost $20,000 or more per house - more than many of the properties were worth.
HEALTH
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | June 7, 2014
Kimberly Smith believed she was "in good hands" when she rented an East Baltimore rowhouse nearly 20 years ago that was part of a Kennedy Krieger Institute study of lead paint remediation techniques. Kennedy Krieger takes care of children, Smith thought at the time. One of her children had suffered lead poisoning when the family had lived elsewhere, she recalled in a recent interview, and she was pregnant then with her fourth child, Cecil. "I was told it was a great opportunity - it was lead-safe," Smith said.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 10, 2014
The Maryland Department of the Environment has not followed up on at least 900 rental housing units with hazardous lead paint whose owners failed to maintain annual registration with the agency, state auditors have found. In a letter this week to a joint House-Senate committee, the Office of Legislative Audits said that in the past three years the MDE has reduced but not eliminated a backlog of rental housing units that need checking to find out why they are no longer registered as available to tenants with young children.
FEATURES
By Liz Atwood, For The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
We like to think of our home as a safe haven where we can rest, unwind and enjoy times with friends and family. But there's danger lurking where you least expect it. More than half a million Marylanders suffered injuries that required hospital treatment in 2010, the most recent year statistics are available. Although health officials don't keep count of where those people were hurt, doctors and rescue workers say many injuries happen at home. However, the good news is many home dangers can be avoided.
NEWS
By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun | January 28, 2014
A tool that contains a small amount of radioactive material, used to measure concentrations of lead in paint, was stolen in Baltimore Monday afternoon, the Maryland Department of the Environment said in an alert. The department said the tool, a Dynasil RMD LPA-1 analyzer, stolen after a property inspection in the 2600 block of E. Monument St., poses "no imminent public health risk. " The radioactive material inside the three-pound device is sealed and housed in a tungsten shield, with locks to prevent its shutter from being opened, the department said.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and The Baltimore Sun | September 22, 2014
A Baltimore jury has awarded nearly $2.1 million to a 17-year-old city youth who was allegedly poisoned by lead paint in the 1990s when he was a toddler in an East Baltimore rental home. The judgment against Elliot Dackman and the estates of Sandra and Bernard Dackman came Friday in Baltimore Circuit Court, at the end of the weeklong trial of a lawsuit brought on behalf of Daquantay Robinson by his mother, Tiesha Robinson. The jury verdict shows the long-running tide of litigation over the widespread use of lead-based paint in Baltimore's older rental housing has yet to ebb, according to Bruce Powell, the Robinsons' lawyer.
HEALTH
By Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | March 23, 2012
The Baltimore housing department received a $2.9 million federal grant Friday to clean up poisonous lead paint found in the walls of thousands of city buildings. Baltimore will receive $2.9 million from the federal government to fix lead-paint hazards in more than 200 homes, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday — a vote of confidence in the city's efforts to resolve past problems with its abatement program. "It's a tremendous boost to our work in protecting children from lead-paint poisoning," said Ken Strong, an assistant city housing commissioner who began overseeing the program last year after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake moved it from the health department to the housing agency.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | September 12, 2013
Facing a flurry of lead paint lawsuits, a nonprofit company that provides affordable housing in Baltimore has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. City Homes Inc. and its subsidiaries, which operate more than 300 apartment units in what officials deem "troubled neighborhoods," face more than 70 lead paint lawsuits, according to the filing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. In Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, businesses attempt to reorganize their debts in an effort to continue operating.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | August 20, 2013
Justice delayed is justice denied, so the legal maxim goes. Judgments delayed, however, can be downright expensive. Last week, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City announced that it had paid $6.8 million to satisfy outstanding court judgments that the agency had allowed six former tenants to become lead-poisoned while living in public housing as young children. Those checks, though, represented just the final installment in a series of payments made over the past 13 months to comply with the judgments, which were four to six years old. The total price tag was much higher.
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