Free lead tests available during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

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FARMINGTON — To mark National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 19-25, the Healthy Community Coalition is partnering with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to offer parents of young children who live in older homes a free home lead dust test kit.

Offers for free tests come with an educational brochure. Families with children born in 2013 will receive the offer and brochure through the mail. In addition, the Healthy Community Coalition will distribute the offers and brochures to families in Franklin County through educational seminars, mobile health unit visits, and at Healthy Community Coalition events.

“The goal of offering these options to obtain a free lead test kit is to help our local families determine if their home has a lead dust problem,” Christine Bruen of the  Healthy Community Coalition said, “and help them figure out what to do to keep their children safe from lead.”

Exposure to dust 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.

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“The Western District alone has approximately 37,160 homes built before 1950, which is 38 percent of the population in the area,” Bruen said. “We are hoping that the families with young children, especially children under age 3, who live in these older homes will take advantage of the opportunity to test their home for lead.”

Made possible by the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund, the free tests are part of Maine’s effort to eliminate childhood lead poisoning.

For information on the dangers of lead in homes or the offers available to help prevent lead poisoning, contact Christine Bruen at 207-779-2927 or cbruen@fchn.org.

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