Lead poisoning in Maine
Why This Indicator Matters
According to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. There is no safe level of lead in a person’s blood. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs. CDC fact sheet on elevated lead levels in children
What the data shows
In Maine, in 2017, about one out of every 30 Maine children tested for blood lead was found to have a venous blood lead level of 5 µg/dL or higher. In 2017, there were an estimated 327 children ages 0 - 3 in Maine with a blood lead level at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL). Approximately 40% of all childhood lead poisonings occurred in just five communities: Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn, Portland, Saco/Biddeford and Sanford. Further examination shows that within these five areas, more than 80% of lead poisoned children lived in rental housing. In 2017, 11,250 children ages 0 -36 months were screened, and of that number, approximately 2.9% tested positive for elevated blood lead levels.
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Maine Children's Alliance
KIDS COUNT Data Center, datacenter.kidscount.org
A project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Definitions: Children can be given a blood test to measure the level of lead in their blood. If a venous blood lead level is at or above 5 ug/dL it is an elevated blood lead indicative of lead poisoning. The estimated number of children with a blood lead level ≥5 ug/dL is the number with confirmed tests plus 38% of the children with unconfirmed 5-<10 ug/dL tests. The percent of lead poisoning reflects the number of children in the county ages 0-<36 months with elevated blood lead levels among the number screened.
Footnotes: Uploaded March 2019.
Maine Children's Alliance
- Maine Children's Alliance
- Maine KIDS COUNT Project
- 331 State Street
- Augusta, ME 04330
Helen Hemminger, Research and KIDS COUNT Associate
The Maine Children's Alliance advocates for sound public policies and promotes best practices to improve the lives of all Maine's children, youth and families.