Maine CDC Press Release

October 25, 2010

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Campaign Targets Prevention of Childhood Lead Poisoning

For more information contact:
Andrew Smith, SM, ScD
State Toxicologist
207.287.5189

AUGUSTA- National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 24-30. Here in Maine, public health officials are marking the week by focusing attention on a new statewide campaign to help prevent childhood lead poisoning from home improvement projects. Beginning this month, all stores in Maine that sell paint or paint removal supplies will be displaying a poster with brochures that warn customers about the danger of lead paint dust that can result from home painting or repair projects performed in homes built before 1978.

“In about 20 percent of the children we have identified with lead poisoning, lead paint dust from do-it-yourself home projects was the likely cause of the poisoning,” said state toxicologist, Dr. Andrew Smith. “Having posters in stores where parents get supplies and advice calls parents’ attention to lead-safe work techniques, cleaning methods and supplies that can help reduce lead dust if used properly, and protect children from lead poisoning.”

The 123rd Maine Legislature passed a law requiring stores that offer paint and related supplies to display the posters with brochures as part of Maine’s effort to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. The law directs the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ME-CDC) to provide the posters and brochures to stores. The ME-CDC began delivering posters and brochures to 375 stores throughout the state in early October.

“We want to thank the store owners, managers and corporate personnel who have embraced the campaign, especially those who worked with us to pilot the campaign and develop and distribute the materials,” said Dr. Smith.

For young children, lead poisoning can cause behavior problems, learning disabilities, speech and language delays, and lower intelligence. Often the only way to know if children have lead poisoning is by testing their blood for lead.
Parents and homeowners can find more information about lead poisoning and lead-safe work methods at http://www.maine.gov/healthyhomes