LEWISTON, Maine - After more than a year, Maine's new, stricter laws on childhood lead poisoning have finally gone into effect. Lawmakers and advocates announced the full implementation on Wednesday in Lewiston.
Last June, the Legislature passed a law to lower the state's childhood lead poisoning standard down to the federally recommended level of 5 micrograms per deciliter. However, it took nine months - and repeated requests by legislators - for the state's Department of Health and Human Services to formally propose rules to implement the new standard.
Kevin Leonard of Community Concepts in Lewiston tests properties for lead. He says the new rules, including those imposing fines on non-compliant landlords, will help the state act quickly when it finds a problem.
"We've already had a reason to be there. But I guess you could say, now, we have some teeth behind us," Leonard says. "That's really going to help."
The new law also approved $1 million in funding for lead inspections and added new positions in the state's Center for Disease Control.