Lead Paint

Photo courtesy Jo Naylor 
Photo courtesy Jo Naylor 
Photo courtesy Jo Naylor 

Maine nonprofit Healthy Androscoggin received a 2019 Lead Poisoning Prevention Grant, which the organization will use to target lead poisoning in the Lewiston-Auburn area of the state, Maine Business News reports. The $25,000 grant is one of nine nationwide awarded by the National Center for Health Housing's Equipping Communities for Action Initiative.

The grant includes $25,000 in cash for the Lewiston-Auburn nonprofit, as well as 18 months of coaching and support, including access to national experts, engagement in a peer learning network, and a customized analysis of the cost of childhood lead exposure and the economic benefits of intervention.

Lewiston-Auburn has the highest rate of lead poisoning in the state, more than three times the state average, according to the Lewiston-Auburn Lead Program website.

Most of the poisoning results from exposure to dust from lead paint found in Maine’s old housing stock—69% of Maine children with lead poisoning live in rental housing, the report said.

“This is an opportunity to accelerate the impact of our lead poisoning prevention work,” said Erin Guay, executive director of Healthy Androscoggin. “While Lewiston and Auburn still have the first and third highest numbers of Maine children under the age of 3 years who are poisoned by lead, respectively, these numbers have come down over time. This grant allows us to use the experience and skills of national experts so we can bring home tailored solutions that have the best chance of working here in the twin cities."

Lead poisoning is one of the major health threats for children in Maine, with a recent report from the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition finding 1,800 children in the state were poisoned by lead in the past five years. The report found that an additional 850 kids were likely poisoned but not identified.

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