The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative this weekend will kick off Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, during which the Lewiston-Auburn community is offering homeowners and renters a free lead dust kit.

“Decades after ending lead in paint, gasoline, solder and other sources, lead poisoning remains one of the nation’s most devastating environmental health threats,” according to a GHHI news release. “Nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Major sources of lead exposure to U.S. children, according to the release, include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings. Children can also be exposed to lead from additional sources, including contaminated drinking water, take-home exposures from a workplace and lead in soil.

“Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable,” the release states. 

“Healthy Androscoggin — a local GHHI L-A partner — is committed to helping parents protect their children from becoming lead poisoned,” said Katie Boss, health promotion manager at Healthy Androscoggin. “And we can do this together through in-home lead dust testing and by getting children screened for lead in their doctor’s offices.”

Twin Cities residents can stop in at any of several locations Monday through Friday during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and sign up for a free lead dust kit. Lead dust kits will be mailed to families and come with instructions on how to conduct the test and where to mail the samples.

If a child younger than 6 is living in the home, Healthy Androscoggin or Pine Tree Legal Assistance will reach out and offer the family a free in-home facilitative lead dust test.

Locations are:

• CCS Dental Services, 60 Second St., Auburn

• B Street Health Center, 57 Birch St., Lewiston

• CCS Pediatrics, 330 Sabattus St., Lewiston

• CCS Family Health Care, 100 Campus Ave., Lewiston

• Community Concepts Inc., 240 Bates St., Lewiston

• Auburn Housing Authority, 20 Great Falls Plaza, Auburn

• Lewiston Housing Authority, 1 College St., Lewiston

• WMCA WIC clinic, Floor 2R, 79 Main St., Auburn

• CMMC Pediatrics, 12 High St., Suite 301, on the CMMC campus, Lewiston

• Androscoggin Head Start, all locations — must be a family of the program to sign up

• St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, 208 Bates St., Lewiston

Free lead dust test kits are also available online at any time during the year.

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