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Lead Paint: Laws and Information for Tenants

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9/12/2016 Notice: Maine has new lead paint regulations that take effect on September 12, 2016. We will update this page to include these new regulations as soon as possible.

State Law

Maine has laws to help make sure children are not living in homes where lead hazards exist. The state will send an inspector to check your home if it believes there is a lead hazard.

If the lead inspector finds dangerous lead paint in your home, the state will tell your landlord to fix the problem.

If you have children under 6 years old, the state may also tell your landlord to help your family find a new home. It may be the landlord’s responsibility to:

  • Find you a lead-safe unit that is the same size as yours and in the same location
  • Pay your family’s moving costs.
  • Pay any difference between the rent in your new unit and the rent in your home.

Important: Your landlord cannot evict you if lead is found in your home.


Childhood Lead Poisoning in Maine

From 2010 to 2014, an estimated 2,685 Maine kids, ages 0 to 71 months, were poisoned by lead. Androscoggin County had the most kids with blood lead levels at or above 5µg/dL.


How are people poisoned by lead?

  • Lead paint can be in any home built before 1978.
  • It is often on doors, windows, floors, trim, and porches.
  • Cracking or peeling lead paint creates lead dust.
  • Opening and closing doors and windows painted with lead paint creates lead dust.
  • Repair work creates lead dust too.
  • Lead poisons children when they breathe in the dust.
  • Lead also poisons children when the dust gets on their hands or toys and they put their hands or toys in their mouths.
  • Children under 6 years old are most at risk for lead poisoning.
  • Pregnant women and newly arrived refugee children are also at high risk.


How Can You Find Out if there is a Lead Hazard in Your Home?

First: Test your children. If your child’s blood lead level is 15µg/dL or higher, the state will send an inspector to check your home.

Next: If your child’s result is less than 15µg/dL, you can test your home with a free lead dust test. If the test shows a high level of lead, the state will send an inspector to check your home.

Last: If the lead inspector finds dangerous lead in your home, call KIDS LEGAL. We can help make sure you understand your rights under the Lead Poisoning Control Act


Dangers of Lead Poisoning

The long-term effects of lead poisoning are serious and permanent. They include:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Behavioral problems
  • Impaired growth
  • Impaired kidney functioning
  • Hearing loss
  • At very high levels, seizures, coma and even death.

There are usually no visible symptoms of lead poisoning. It is important to test your children to keep them safe.


Legal Referrals

Our services are free to all low-income families. When the parents of your patients learn that their children have elevated blood lead levels, you can tell them to call us for help understanding their legal rights. For more information, visit KIDS LEGAL Can Help.