State agencies assist Dundalk family after their toddler tests positive for lead poisoning

Dundalk, MD (WJZ)- In 2020, 1,171 children in Maryland tested positive for having too much lead in their blood. Landon Graham was one of them.

“I was contacted by his doctor’s office, which said his lead level was 16,” his mother, Maegan Fitzgerald, told WJZ.

Read more: An increasing number of COVID deaths among vaccinated people in Maryland linked to diabetes; Hogan advances booster shots as state prepares to vaccinate children

According to the CDC, the dangerous level of lead for a child is about five micrograms per deciliter. Landon had more than tripled.

His father knew something had happened. “At one point he started biting in anger and acting weird,” said Lance Graham.

Every year thousands of children in the US are poisoned with lead. Although rental units in Maryland are required to test and disclose lead information, an inspection is not required when purchasing a home. This family had no idea that their house had lead paint because it looked newly renovated.

Maagen Fitzgerald and Lance Graham moved out of their home for a short time while state agencies went to work to fix the problem. “In just a few months they moved us to another position, they came in, were completely renovated, lead down the house, and repainted and made it more secure,” Fitzgerald said.

Read more: At least 10 people were shot, 1 killed over the weekend in Baltimore

The Department of Housing, the Department of the Environment, and the Department of Public Housing took over the bill for $178,000 in repairs and relocations.

Landon has to take speech therapy and see other doctors for the long-term effects of lead poisoning.

“He has some anger issues that we’re working on, and he has some progressing issues with age… so there are some things I’m trying to fight for the cause of leadership,” Fitzgerald said.

“Unless we address the problem of the state of our housing stock, we will not take the necessary steps on health and racial equity,” said Ruth Ann Norton, CEO of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.

More news: ‘It’s so unfair’: Cell phone video captures sex act in Woodlawn High School classroom

October 24 to October 30 is Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. To find inspectors for lead if you buy a home, Click here.