The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention will take a new and more influential role as the state moves toward a new law for blood-lead levels in children.

The law change puts Maine in alignment with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for protecting against lead poisoning in children, and gives the Pine Tree State one of the strongest laws in the nation on lead. Only five other states have adopted the lower blood-lead level.

According to the Maine CDC, here are some steps the state takes when lead paint is confirmed in the home of a child who has an elevated blood-lead level in most rental apartments. The law is not applied to owner-occupied, single-family residences.

Steps in the process:

• Environmental lead inspections are performed by licensed risk assessors under contract with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine CDC’s parent department. The contractor initially inspects the apartment and the exterior and common areas of the building.

• If environmental lead hazards are found, the state posts a notice on the building identifying lead hazards.


• The inspector produces a draft report of hazards, which is sent to the Maine CDC for review.

• If hazards are identified in the draft report, Maine CDC issues a preliminary “order to correct” identified lead hazards and requires inspection of all other units within the dwelling.

• Once the environmental lead investigation report is finalized, the CDC issues a final “order to correct” the lead hazard. The work must be performed by a licensed lead abatement contractor who performs the work in accordance with state and federal regulations.

• The property owner may not knowingly rent a dwelling unit that has been posted and has received an “order to correct” lead hazards.

• A family with a child identified as having lead poisoning cannot be evicted and may have to be relocated to a substitute dwelling until the owner brings the dwelling into compliance with the order to correct. The owner is responsible for moving expenses and any use and occupancy charges that exceed the rent for the vacated dwelling.

What can property owners do?


• Hire a licensed abatement contractor to mitigate the lead hazards (average of $10,000 per unit).

• Apply for a Lead Hazard Control Grant to assist with costs of abatement, with access depending on available funds, tenant income requirements and willingness to maintain the dwelling as affordable housing for a designated period.

• In some cases, an owner can become trained and licensed as an abatement contractor and do the work themselves. Training and licensing costs about $1,000. (To avoid conflicts of interest, Lewiston’s grant programs do not allow property owners to do the work on their own buildings.)

• An owner can choose to sell the property, in which case the abatement order transfers to the next owner.

• An owner can choose to demolish the building.

What happens if the owner doesn’t comply?

If the building owner does not comply with the requirements or the order to correct or any other requirements under state law and regulations, Maine CDC can and has referred cases to the Attorney General’s Office for action as a Class E crime.

“This is a very time-consuming and slow process,” according to a statement from the Maine CDC. Under the new law, which will be implemented by the end of the year, the CDC will be allowed to also assess administrative fines against a property owner who does not comply. 

Complete coverage

  • An Economic Cost Assessment of Environmentally-Related Childhood Diseases in Maine
  • Lewiston-Auburn Lead Program Summary 5-10-16
  • Open abatement orders for lead in Lewiston-Auburn

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: