Friday, October 21, 2016

Changes to Maine's Childhood Lead Poisoning Law

In September, Maine CDC began implementing changes to Maine’s law that requires lead hazard inspections in the homes of children with lead poisoning. The amendments changed the State’s definition of lead poisoning to a blood lead level of five micrograms per deciliter (5 ug/dL) or higher for children younger than age six, which is also U.S. CDC’s definition of an elevated blood lead level.
With the changes, Maine CDC expects to inspect about 500 rental units for lead hazards each year—a five-fold increase in the number of units over previous years. These inspections, along with a primary prevention strategy underway in Maine communities with the highest burdens of lead poisoning, make up Maine CDC’s efforts to eradicate childhood lead poisoning.
What can you do to prevent lead poisoning?
  • Public Health Professionals: Learn about lead poisoning in your community on the Maine Tracking Network. Work with municipalities to address lead hazards in rental properties through code enforcement or outreach to property owners. Promote screening and home lead dust testing among parents.
  • Providers: Make sure your practice is following Maine CDC’s screening and confirmation testing guidelines – Maine CDC initiates an inspection of a child’s home environment for venous blood lead test results of 5 ug/dL or higher.
  • Property Owners: Regularly maintain painted surfaces in properties built before 1978 – find out more.
  • Parents: Talk to your child’s doctor about a blood lead test and find out if you have lead dust in your home with a free kit from the Maine CDC – order online at
FYI: October 23-29 is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week – see our webpage for resources you can use to promote lead poisoning prevention.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

News from the Districts - Cumberland

Whether it’s about levels of lead in drinking water at Yarmouth schools or concerns about well water levels on Long Island, Local Health Officers in Cumberland Public Health District are fielding questions about water quality and safety in their communities. Cumberland County was also recently included in the areas in Maine affected by drought, according to assessments of the State Drought Task Force.

Maine CDC and the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency partnered to organize an information and outreach session on water issues for Local Health Officers on Tuesday. David Braley, Senior Environmental Hydrogeologist with the Maine CDC Drinking Water Program, and Mike Koza from the Portland Water District, presented.

The event was the first in a series of information and networking meetings aimed at strengthening relationships and support between Maine CDC, Cumberland Emergency Management Agency and Local Health Officers in Cumberland, many of whom are volunteers.