Healthy Androscoggin gets $120K lead prevention grant

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LEWISTON — Healthy Androscoggin will receive a $120,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to boost its lead poisoning prevention efforts.

The nonprofit Healthy Androscoggin is a community health coalition supported by a variety of partners, including local hospitals, health organizations and the cities of Lewiston and Auburn. 

Erin Guay, executive director of Healthy Androscoggin, confirmed this week that the funds will go toward the organization’s lead poisoning prevention efforts, which focus on preventing childhood lead poisoning. 

A news release announcing the grant describes its purpose as helping organizations develop and implement “community-driven solutions that address environmental and public health disparities in minority, low-income, tribal and indigenous populations.” 

Ten community projects were selected from 72 applications, and according to the EPA, “reflect an emphasis on support for rural communities and watershed protection.”

The news release names the Central Maine Community Health Corp. as the grant recipient, which is Healthy Androscoggin’s fiscal agent through Central Maine Healthcare. 

According to the EPA, the Central Maine Community Health Corporation and its partners “seek to help underserved residents who experience extreme poverty and disproportionate housing-related health impacts, including lead exposure and asthma, by increasing the number of healthy residential housing units and empowering those residents to access healthy housing.” 

Guay said the organization will release more specific information on Healthy Androscoggin’s efforts in the next month or so.

Lewiston-Auburn has the highest rate of childhood lead poisoning in the state.

Healthy Androscoggin’s efforts already include free in-home lead poisoning prevention education services for downtown Lewiston-Auburn residents, and free facilitation of lead dust testing in homes of Lewiston-Auburn residents. 

Through another large federal grant, the city of Lewiston already has a lead abatement program that provides grants to downtown landlords to do lead abatement work on apartments. 

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