Bangor Public Health is pleased to recognize National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 25-31. The goal is to raise local awareness about the dangers of lead exposure and poisoning, educate parents on how to reduce exposure to lead in their environment, and learn about the importance of testing children for lead.

Children who live in older homes are more at risk for lead poising. In Maine, 30 percent of homes were built before 1950 and in Bangor that number is even higher at about 43 percent. In Bangor alone, about 6,000 households were built before 1950; where the risk of lead paint exposure is highest. Many children grow up safe in older homes when painted services are kept up regularly. However, peeling and chipping paint, along with dust from renovations, can create lead hazards for young children. Lead is not limited to the inside of homes, it can also be found outside the home, in the soil around the house, and in the water that travels through lead pipes.

To reduce the chance of lead poisoning, all children should now be tested at their doctor’s office at age one and again at two years of age.

In addition, families and property owners can request a Free Home Lead Dust Test Kit through the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/eohp/lead/lead-kit-request.html

It is possible to live safely in homes with lead paint as long as homeowners, tenants, and landlords take the necessary precautions. For example,

  • Homeowners, tenants, and landlords should make sure that there is no peeling or chipping paint inside or outside the home.
  • Keep your home safe by wiping down surfaces with a damp washcloth and mopping the floors regularly. Using wet cleaning materials will help you pick up the dust instead of just pushing it around.

In older homes, renovation projects must be completed by someone who has taken the Lead Safe Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) course and is EPA lead-safe certified. While this is just a strong recommendation for homeowners; landlords or property owners are required by law to provide an RRP certified person for renovations or be certified themselves. If you own rental property in Bangor, you can apply for a $225 scholarship through Bangor Public Health. For more information or to apply, visithttps://www.bangorpublichealth.org/housing/lead-safe-scholarships/