Maine CDC Press Release

October 21, 2011

State Offers Free Household Lead Test For Families of Young Children

AUGUSTA - National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 23-29. To mark the week, the health officials from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MeCDC) announced today that they are offering parents of all children born in Maine in 2010 a free home lead dust test kit.

The offers for free tests come with an educational brochure that is being mailed to more than 11,000 families as part of Maine’s effort to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. Instructions on how to schedule a test are included in the mailer.

"The goal of the mailing is to prevent lead poisoning. The test kits we are offering can help parents find out if their home has a lead dust problem," said Dr. Sheila Pinette, Director of the MeCDC. "Then they can address any problems and keep their children safe from lead."

Exposure to dust that comes from lead paint in homes built before 1950 is the most common way children are poisoned by lead in Maine. Lead paint is often found in homes built before 1950 and sometimes in homes built before 1978. Lead poisoning can cause behavior problems, learning disabilities, speech and language delays, and lower intelligence.

Made possible by the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund, this is the second annual mailing of its kind. Nearly 300 families in Maine took advantage of the prior mailing and tested their homes for lead dust. About one quarter of those families identified lead dust problems in their homes and received education to properly address the problems.

"We hope parents who live in older homes will take advantage of the offer for a free lead dust test kit, especially if they live in a house or apartment built before 1950," said Dr. Pinette.

For more information, go to www.maine.gov/healthyhomes.