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Public Health Laws

Public health laws are in place to protect the health of the public. The Annotated Code of Maryland and the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) are the two main sources of public health laws in Maryland. The laws that may be of interest are listed below with the link to the source document included.

Animal Services

View animal laws and policies.




Animal Holding Facilities

Bill prohibiting animal shelter having unreasonable noise and light on other real estate properties

Animal Welfare

Oscar's Law requiring certain care and shelter of animals that are not kept in a home or building

Exotic Animals

Prohibits ownership and sale of exotic animals

Exotic Bird Permits

Inspects exotic bird records and issues permits

Pet Store Inspections

Inspects pet stores for compliance with reptile caution notices, exotic bird records, humane and sanitary conditions


Investigates animal attacks involving humans, collects and sends specimens for testing, enforces quarantines, conducts vaccination clinics

Regulation for Pet Stores

Regulations for Retail Pet Stores

Research Animal Adoption

Humane Adoption of Companion Animals Used in Research Act of 2018

Vector Control

Response to complaints about rodents, mosquito control, animal hoarding, vermin or insect infestations, West Nile Virus investigations, Lyme disease awareness

Disease Control




Food Borne Illness Investigation

Investigates food and water borne illnesses related to food service facilities and within institutional facilities

HIV and CD4 Lymphocyte Investigations and Case Reporting

Requirements for physician reporting of a case of HIV or AIDS, or birth of an infant whose mother has tested positive for HIV; Institution reporting of a case of HIV or AIDS; Lab reporting of a test result for HIV infection or CD4 count; health officer follow up of a physician report of AIDS

HIV Counseling and Testing Procedures

Requirements for pre-test and post-test counseling and informed consent when HIV testing is performed

HIV Investigations and Case Reporting AIDS

Requirements for reporting a case of AIDS and health officer follow up of a physician report of AIDS

HIV Testing for Convicted Persons

HIV testing of persons accused or convicted, or both, of certain crimes

HIV Testing Pregnant Women

Requirements for counseling and informed consent when HIV testing is performed on pregnant women


Health officer may issue directive to an individual or a group to remain in isolation or place of quarantine

Reportable Diseases

List of reportable diseases and conditions which health care providers, institutions and others are required to report

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

Clinical services for screening, diagnosis, partner identification and treatment

STI Testing and Contact Tracing

Assure clients and contacts that have or have been exposed to certain reportable STIs obtain appropriate treatment and follow up, and all information is entered into the state database.


Assure that individuals are assessed and treated according to protocol, contacts are investigated and treated accordingly, and information is entered into the state database.





Agricultural Safety

Animal health in agriculture

Bathing Beach Toxic Substances

Safety of water at beaches

Bottled Water

Procedures for obtaining proper permits for bottling and dispensing drinking water from spring construction to unit processing.

Building Permits

Building permits issued related to water and sewage

Building Plan Review

Major projects, public water and sewer and plat reviews


Inspections and investigations, permits for campgrounds


Requirements for operating canning and acidified food manufacturing plants

Crab meat

Processing regulations to ensure safe and sanitary crab meat and working conditions for employees

Drain Cover Requirement Pools and Spas

Requirement for covering drains pools and spas

Drinking Water Safety

Regulations to protect drinking water

Food and Drink Processing and Transportation

Processing, producing, transporting and storing items for human consumption

Food Inspection

Inspection of meat and poultry products

Food Labeling

Branding of foods and dietary supplements

Food Safety

Safety of food and recalls

Food Safety

Transportation of food and additives

Food Safety

Food safety recommendations to prevent food related illness

Food Service Facilities

Assure that food service facilities serve food that is safe for human consumption, that buildings meet proper standards for cleanliness, conduct inspections, provides training, issues food

Food, Drugs and Cosmetics

Sale of foods to consumers

Frozen Dairy Foods

Manufacture and sale of frozen dairy foods and ices

Hazard Investigation

Local Health Officer has the authority to investigate any condition that is dangerous to human health and to inspect schools, places of employment and businesses

Hazards—Controlled Substances

Regulation to control the manufacturing, distribution, and use of controlled, dangerous substances

Hotels and Motels

Investigation of complaints regarding hotels and motels

Indoor Smoking

Prohibition of smoking in indoor areas open to the public

Lead Paint Poisoning Investigations

Regulations for techniques for abatement of lead containing substances from interior and certain exterior surfaces in residential areas and day care properties

Manufactured Grade Milk

Production, processing, transportation, storage and distribution of manufactured grade milk


Production, processing, transportation, storage and distribution of milk

Mobile Home Park License

Inspections and investigations, permits for mobile home parks

Mobile Reciprocity License

License issued to a mobile food service which is operating in the jurisdiction; is operating within 90 miles of its base of operation; holds a valid license from the county of origin.

Nuisance Complaints

Nuisance complaints investigation

Open Burning

Prohibits the start of an open fire with out a permit and control officer approval

Other Licenses

Regulations protecting public health and safety of occupants of migratory labor camps

Performance Criteria for Beaches

Guidance and performance criteria for beaches


Procedures for the safe handling and processing of seafood.

Sewage Overflows

Maryland Department of the Environment sewage overflow enforcement


Procedures for processing and handling shellfish which are sold for human consumption

Solid Waste—General

Investigate complaints, review sewage and sludge applications and sites, review demolition permits

Solid Waste—Medical

Applies to entities that generate and handle special medical waste or sharps, or treat and dispose of medical waste

Solid Waste—Septic

Review applications, issue permits, inspect installed, investigate failing systems

Swimming Pool and Spa Licenses

Regulations to protect and promote the health and safety of those using public pools or spas including construction and disinfecting

Swimming Pools, Spas and Bathing Beaches

Permits and regulations on public water systems

Swimming and Bathing Beach Licenses

Annual permit for operations of public beaches including sanitation quality of facilities and waters

Water Emergency

Maryland Department of the Environment water control program; emergency water supply

Water Percolation

Percolation testing and soil analysis, site plan review and ground water monitoring

Water Potability

Regulations establishing standards and procedures applicable to well construction

Water Well Construction

Permits and inspections of wells

Youth Camps

Certifications for youth camps

Fiscal and Administrative




Acute General and Specialty Hospitals

Licensing requirements for hospitals

Adult Foster Care

Licensing requirements for adult foster care

Assistance to Health Officer

Code related to assistance to the health officer to administer laws

Assisted Living Programs

Licensing requirements for assisted living programs

Code of Baltimore County Regulations (COBAR)

Codes related to pools, zoning, towing and others enacted by the County Council

Comprehensive Care Facilities

Licensing requirements for extended and comprehensive care facilities

County Board of Health Powers and Duties

Codes related to pools, zoning, towing and others enacted by the County Council

Day Care for Medically Disabled Adults

Licensing requirements for extended and comprehensive care facilities

Local Board of Health Duties

Role of the Board of Health

Local Health Officer

Role of the Local Health officer

Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs for Adults

Licensing requirements for adult psychiatric rehabilitation

Residential Treatment Centers for Emotionally Disturbed Children and Adolescents

Licensing requirements for residential care for emotionally disturbed children

State Funding for Local Health Services

Amount of General Funds from the state provided to local health departments for core funding

Treatment Foster Care Programs

Licensing requirements for treatment foster care

Health of Children and Adults




Abatement of Nuisances

Nuisances and unsanitary conditions abatement

Birth Certificates

Copies of birth, death and fetal death certificates

Child Care

Child care home licensing

Disease Reporting in Facilities

Reporting of Infectious diseases to Health Department

Emergency Preparedness

Requirements for county and facility emergency preparedness

Group Homes for Children

Regulations for therapeutic group homes


Requirements for meningococcal vaccination of individuals enrolled in institutions of higher education who are living in on campus housing

Immunizations—School Entry

Restrictions for schools to admit or retain a student unless the parent or guardian has furnished evidence of age appropriate immunity

Inspections of Facilities

Inspections of hospitals and other care facilities

Permits and Inspections

Environmental impacts and hazards permits and inspections

Substance Use Disorder Program

Licensing of substance use disorder program

Tanning Device Use by Minors

Restricts use of tanning devices by minors

Tattoo and Body Piercing

Regulations on handling and disposing of sharp waste that have had contact with body fluids; requirements for procedures

Tobacco Sales to Minors

May not distribute tobacco products to a minor

Transportation Safety—Bike Helmets

Helmets required for under age 16, including passengers, who ride bikes on the road

Transportation Safety—Bike Traffic

Traffic laws apply to bikes and motor scooters

Transportation Safety—Cell Phones

Texting is banned, hand held cell phone restrictions and all use banned for learners

Transportation Safety—Child Safety Seats

All children under eight years of age must be secured in a federally approved child safety seat unless the child is four feet, nine inches or taller. The child restraint must be right for the child's size, age and weight.

Transportation Safety—Pedestrians

Pedestrian rights and rules to prevent injury

Transportation Safety—Seatbelts

Drivers and front seat passengers must wear seat belts

Revised October 23, 2019               
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