Lead Paint Danger
‘Incremental’ progress: Maine’s effort to address lead poisoning was gaining momentum before COVID-19
Testing and inspections have rebounded since the start of the pandemic, but the brain-damaging disease continues to affect hundreds of Maine children a year.
A bill reinforcing contractor requirements for work on buildings containing lead is dead after the Maine House and Senate failed to come to agreement.
Seeking to reduce the instances of Mainers getting lead poisoning due to careless renovations, a lawmaker introduced a proposal to require EPA training and certification in lead-safe removal methods for contractors working on older buildings.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin targeting contractors in the Lewiston-Auburn area who are failing to follow the law that requires them to remove lead paint safely.
While the state’s public health efforts to fight childhood lead poisoning have been more successful in Bangor, Portland, Saco, Biddeford and Sanford, where the rates of lead poisoning have gone down in the past 20 years, the rates of childhood lead poisoning in Lewiston and Auburn remain stubbornly high.
Investigation finds that a federal law designed to protect children from lead paint poisoning is widely unenforced, a fact even the federal agency that administers the law admits.
From 2003 through 2013, 1,512 Maine children were diagnosed with lead poisoning. The numbers will rise by hundreds more annually as the state lowers the blood lead level that triggers a diagnosis.
Childhood lead poisoning is still the No. 1 toxic health hazard for children. The problem is acute and persistent in parts of Maine, especially among poor and immigrant families.