Hazards of lead will be discussed at class

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LEWISTON — Healthy Homes, Healthy Families will sponsor a two-part class on the hazards of lead. The classes will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, March 24 and 26, at the Nutrition Center, 208 Bates St.

According to the Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Lewiston-Auburn has the highest number of lead poisoned children in Maine. Lead poisoning is a serious environmental hazard and children who ingest lead paint or dust can develop learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Children under the age of 6 are particularly vulnerable.

Eighty percent of children who have elevated blood lead levels reside in rental housing. Parents who are aware of the presence of lead can take precautions to reduce their children’s exposure to lead hazards.

The education program will provide the tenants with basic information about the hazards of lead, how to effectively clean up lead dust and how to reduce the effects of lead through good nutrition.

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The program is sponsored by a group of agencies, including Healthy Androscoggin, Catholic Charities Maine, United Somali Women of Maine, St. Mary’s Health System Nutrition Center and University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Participants will receive free cleaning supplies and food containers during the classes. The partners will offer follow-up home visits to class participants to enable them to address the issues in their specific homes. At the home visit, participants will receive additional cleaning materials.

The education opportunity is available to tenants in downtown Lewiston and Auburn, but space is limited. Citylink bus vouchers and free on-site childcare are available. To sign up or for more information, contact Catholic Charities Maine at 514-1477.

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