Free Home Lead Test Offered to Maine Parents
Access Health Urges Midcoast Families to Participate
As part of Maine’s effort to prevent childhood lead poisoning, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is offering all parents of children born in 2012 a free home lead dust test kit. Exposure to lead dust is the most common way children are poisoned by lead in Maine.
The offer, enclosed with an educational brochure, will arrive in mailboxes across the state in conjunction with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 21-27.
Access Health, your local healthy Maine Partnership, urges families throughout the Midcoast to take advantage of the offer. If you live in an older home or apartment this simple, quick test can help determine if your home has a lead dust problem.
Previous offers have resulted in more than 400 families in Maine testing their home for lead dust. About one quarter of those families identified lead dust problems in their homes and received education on living safely with lead paint and properly addressing lead dust problems.
Young children who live in housing built before 1950 are most at risk for lead poisoning. This is due to the common usage of lead paint that was not banned until 1978. If a home contains lead paint, normal wear and tear or home renovations may produce lead dust.
Lead dust can remain in homes for a long time, collecting on surfaces where children put their hands and play with toys. Children under 3 often put their hands and toys in their mouths, causing the lead dust to enter their growing bodies. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause learning disabilities, behavior problems, hearing damage, language or speech delays, and lower intelligence.
Access Health is partnering with the Maine CDC to distribute additional offers and educational brochures to families in Bath. You can also order a lead dust test kit online at http://www.maine.gov/healthyhomes. For more information, please call Terry Sherman of Access Health at 373-6995.