Maine CDC increasing inspections for lead

NOW: Lead in homes

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is increasing the number of inspections for homes that have lead in paint or fixtures.

The CDC reports that lead can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, hearing damage, language or speech delays, and/or lower intelligence, especially in young children.

According to the Maine CDC, half all children poisoned by lead in Maine live in rental housing. Lead dust is the most common way children can get lead into their bodies. Lead dust from paint happens from lack of maintenance, normal wear and tear, and/or scraping or sanding lead paint. Buildings built before 1950 are more likely to contain lead paint.

The 127th Maine legislature changed the level considered "toxic" in humans in September 2016, according to state toxicologist Andrew Smith. Smith said the latest federal recommendation in 2012 lowered the level considered "toxic" from 15 mcg/dl to 5 mcg/dl of blood, which is what Maine used to change its level. 

Smith said the CDC is required to test any dwelling where a child who suffers from lead poisoning lives. Smith said the change would make more children considered to have a "toxic" level, which means the state would do more inspections. Smith said the CDC is not required to, but may, test private homes.

Healthy Androscoggin, a community health organization, reports that Lewison/Auburn has the highest rate of childhood lead poisoning in the state.

The Maine CDC offers free lead dust test inspection kits with informational videos on how to conduct the test, as well as tips for parents on how to prevent lead poisoning.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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