Lead Poisoning Prevention 

By- Mike Bush, PenquisWhat’s the Problem? Exposure to lead dust is the leading cause of poisoning in Maine’s childrenBlood lead concentration levels have declined in the US, but an estimated 25% of children still live in housing with deteriorated lead-based paintIn children lead can cause: nervous system problems, learning disabilities, speech, language, and behavior problemsWhere is the problem and how big is it? Maine has 7th oldest housing stock in the US40% of all child poisonings in Maine occur in 5 cities, and 70-80% of these poisonings are in rental properties. Bangor is a high priority in Eastern Maine. Maine experiences 150 – 200 cases of lead poisoning annuallyWithin Bangor alone there were a minimum of 32 cases of elevated blood levels between 2003 and 2007Lead was used to make paint more water resistant, extensively used prior to 1978Lead is released from paint in poor conditionSpecifically, look for lead problems on:o Friction surfaces, such as windows and doorso Painted floors, particularly in entry areaso Any poorly maintained area, where paint is chipping Around construction and repair, when lead paint is disturbedWhere do we go from here? Focus needs to change from case identification and management to primary prevention, with a goal of safe housing for all childrenLead Poisoning Prevention Fund was established to support efforts to inform and engage the public in lead poisoning prevention. LPPF Program works with Healthy Maine PartnershipsPenquis has been hired to manage the programWhat can Landlords, tenants, and homeowners expect to see?More Rules and Requirements to use safe practices and disclose problemso EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule§ Addresses common renovation activities that can create hazardous lead dust and chips. Under the rule, beginning in April 2010, contractors and property owners performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead based pain in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contaminationo Expect to see more interest by EPA and others in making sure rules followed, particularly in those areas with high incidence of lead poisoningso Landlord lead disclosure requirementso Required testing of all MaineCare children and other children at risk by the age of 2Resources to Helpo Community education and workshopso Help for landlords with lead dust testing, especially in Bangoro Information for familieso Training for landlordso Funding from Maine Housing from the Lead Hazard Control Program – providing 0% deferred forgivable loans to make homes occupied by people with lower income safe For further information:Maine Department of Health and Human Department of Environmental Protection Maine Partnershipshttp://whatyoudomatters.orgPenquis – Lead Hazard Control Program973-3552