Cautions - What To Look Out For

A common way that lead enters the body in children is through ingestion. Touching your mouth with hands that have handled items covered in lead dust can lead to ingesting lead paint. Small children are more likely to put their hands in their mouths, which is one reason children are more susceptible to lead poisoning. The lead in paint can also be inhaled by breathing in lead dust. This dust is created in normal daily activities like opening and closing windows that are painted with lead-based paint. It is especially common when painted surfaces are disturbed by renovations.

The most common way to be exposed to lead poisoning is by ingesting lead dust, which gets into the air through normal household activities (opening windows, etc.).

Renovating and repainting homes causes more than half the child lead poisoning cases in Maine. New regulation requires contractors to be trained in order to work on some housing with lead paint.



Risk Factors - Who Is At Risk?

Chances are your home may have at least some lead paint if it was built before 1978. You should be particularly concerned if

  • You have children age 6 or younger in your home.
  • Someone in your household is pregnant.
  • You plan to do any remodeling. The risk of lead paint contamination increases dramatically if lead paint is improperly removed. Home renovations are responsible for half of lead poisoning cases in children in Maine.



Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Lead is toxic to the human body and in sufficient doses, it can be fatal. In adults, symptoms include:

  • difficulties in pregnancy and other reproductive problems
  • high blood pressure
  • digestive and nerve disorders
  • memory and concentration problems
  • joint and muscle pain

In children, the effects of lead are even more dangerous. They include:

  • damage to the brain and nervous system
  • behavior and learning disabilities
  • developmental delays
  • slow growth
  • hearing problems and headaches



Removal of Lead in Your Home

Renovating and repainting homes causes more than half the child lead poisoning cases in Maine. New regulation requires contractors to be trained in order to work on some housing with lead paint.

There are trained personnel in several Community Action Program agencies that can work with MaineHousing and other organizations in properties that include federal funding. The Department of Environmental Protection maintains a list of trained and certified Lead Smart Renovators and Sampling Technicians. Those interested in obtaining the list should call 287-2651 for information.

The Lead Smart Renovator training will teach the fundamentals on how to utilize lead smart work practices while doing residential renovations. Proper work area set up (hands on), worker safety, remediation methods, clean up and disposal will all be a part of this class. Upon completion with a passing score all participants will be eligible for a “Lead Smart Renovator” ID card from the Department of Environmental Protection. If you plan to renovate/remodel, inspect and/or monitor pre-1978 residential housing projects you should consider taking this course.

The Sampling Technician training will teach participants how to visually inspect the work area for proper clean up before sampling the work area. You will learn how to set up and take dust wipes of the work area and how to package and send the samples to the laboratory for analysis. Upon completion with a passing score all participants will be eligible for a license from the Department of Environmental Protection. If you will be inspecting and/or monitoring pre-1978 residential housing units you should take this course.

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