Childhood lead poisoning in Lewiston-Auburn is a significant and persistent public health issue. Children in our community are poisoned at a rate three times higher than the rest of Maine. They live, learn, play, eat, pray and sleep in homes that are laced with deteriorating lead paint.

Lead is a neurotoxin that permanently harms the developing brain and nervous system, leading to behavior and learning issues and increased aggression.

Lead is quietly altering our children’s futures, limiting their success in school and eventually in the work place. The broader social and economic impacts of lead poisoning are far reaching — ranging from increased pressure on special education programs and the criminal justice system, to reduced earnings and increased health care costs.

Healthy Androscoggin is a public health nonprofit that works behind the scenes to improve the health of community members. We have been working to address childhood lead poisoning in Lewiston-Auburn since 2008 through broad community awareness, tenant education, lead workshops and classes, facilitating lead dust testing and fostering collaboration with local partners to address this complex issue.

Healthy Androscoggin was a convening partner in bringing together a local Green and Healthy Homes Initiative collaboration and in helping the city of Lewiston to secure a $3.4 million HUD lead grant that is now helping to make the Twin Cities safer.

The rate at which local children are poisoned is dropping, but it is imperative that we, as a community, continue our efforts to prevent lead poisoning. Our children are counting on us.

Healthy Androscoggin Advisory Board

Vicky Wiegman, M.Ed., CAS, Leeds, chairman

Phil Nadeau, MPP, Lewiston, vice chairman

Monique Crawford, MSN, Greene, board member

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