Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition recognizes National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 24-30.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The goal is to encourage organized, local community events, and empower families and other stakeholders to take action.

About 3.3 million American households, including 2.1 million low-income households, have children under 6 years of age who live in homes with lead exposure hazards. Even relatively low levels of lead exposure can impair a child’s cognitive development. Children with blood lead levels can experience delayed growth and development, damage to the brain and nervous system, learning and behavior problems, and a host of other health-related problems. Public health actions are needed for these children. There is no safe blood lead level in children.

Lead can be found inside and outside the home, including in the water that travels through lead pipes or in the soil around the house. However, the most common source of exposure for children is from lead-based paint, which was used in many homes built before 1978. Adults and children can get lead into their bodies by breathing in lead dust (especially during activities such as renovations, repairs, or painting) or by swallowing lead dust that settles in food, food preparation surfaces, floors, window sills, eating paint chips, soil that contains lead, or other places.

Children can also become exposed to lead dust from adults’ jobs or hobbies and from some metal toys or toys painted with lead-based paint. Children are not exposed equally to lead, nor suffer its consequences in the same way. These disparities unduly burden minority families and low-income families and their communities.

The problem is largely preventable with increased testing, education, and a focus on prevention. For more information on National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2021, visit www.chccme.org/lead

Maine Centers for Disease Control offers free lead test kits to parents at www.maine.gov.

If you are a Biddeford landlord and would like financial assistance to have lead paint removed in your apartment complex visit: https://www.biddefordmaine.org/2952/Lead-Based-Paint-Hazard-Reduction-Progra

Stakeholders can use the digital Partner Information Kit at: http://hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes/nlppw, to assist with building awareness and implementation at the local level. One of the most valuable resources to help residents and housing professionals nationwide is the National Lead Information Center, 1-800-424-LEAD (5323.)

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