Maine Lead Poisoning
October 14, 2004
The EPA has announced it has issued a civil complaint against the owners and lessors of seven apartments in Lewiston, Maine for failing to properly notify renters of risks from exposure to lead paint, which is required by federal law. Lead poisoning is a “very serious public health threat in New England, especially in cities such as Lewiston, where apartment buildings and housing tend to be older,” according to the regional administrator for EPA's New England Office.
As many as three million children under the age of six are affected by low-level lead poisoning and lead paint has been identified as the primary cause. In Maine alone, more than 300 of the children screened in 2001 had elevated blood lead levels. Children are considered especially susceptible to lead poisoning because of the higher probability of lead ingestion in paint chips and dust, as well as the greater vulnerability to the effects.
Just one among more than a dozen lead-related civil and criminal cases the EPA New England has taken since expanding its lead enforcement and compliance assurance program, the EPA complaint is intended to show a serious effort in making sure renters and buyers get information to protect themselves and their children from lead poisoning.
Any sellers and landlords selling or renting housing built before 1978 must provide an EPA approved lead hazard information pamphlet, include lead notification language in sales and rental forms, disclose any known lead based paint and lead based paint hazards in the living room unit and provide available reports to buyers or renters, allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers and maintain records certifying compliance with federal laws for a period of three years. Lead poisoning continues to affect a high number of people in the U.S. despite efforts to reduce lead sources.
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