Gov. Mills signs Sen. Libby law to reduce lead poisoning rates

Posted: June 27, 2019 | Senator Libby

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, to reduce lead poisoning rates among Maine children, LD 1116 “An Act To Strengthen the Lead Poisoning Control Act,” was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday.

“There are so many ways kids can be poisoned by lead – lead dust from window sashes, paint, drinking water and more – but if we don’t know it’s happening, we don’t know that we need to remedy the situation,” said Sen. Libby. “With LD 1116 in place, we’ll know if any kid is being exposed to lead, so we can act quickly to prevent further exposure.”

Lead poisoning can cause permanent and irreversible cognitive impairment. Children and their developing brains are especially at risk of damage from exposure to lead. If a child doesn’t get tested and lead exposure isn’t known about, the child will continue to be exposed to lead, and the damage will continue.

Prior law mandated that only 1- and 2-year-olds who are covered by MaineCare be tested for lead exposure. LD 1116 mandates lead testing for all 1- and 2-year-olds in Maine, regardless of income.

Lewiston and Auburn have the highest recorded rates of lead poisoning in Maine due to a combination of older housing stock and a recent increased awareness of the importance of testing for lead poisoning.

As emergency legislation, LD 1116 goes into effect today.