Data About Maintaining a "Healthy Home"

June 11, 2024

Keeping your home clean and addressing issues that arise with water quality, lead paint, radon, or carbon monoxide are essential for maintaining a healthy home. Being aware of and preventing issues like lead or carbon monoxide poisoning may not be top of mind for some Maine homeowners, but these issues pose health threats that should be taken seriously.

Keeping a Home Lead-safe

Lead has been banned in most consumer goods for decades, but old lead paint is still found in many of Maine's older homes, particularly those built before 1950. Young children are more likely to be exposed to lead poisoning because they spend more time crawling and sitting on floors, near windows and around doorways where lead dust settles from the wear and tear on windows, doors, floors, and trim containing lead paint.

If you know or suspect that your home has lead paint avoid renovation projects that involve scraping, sanding, or grinding paint since they can make a lot of lead dust. When doing paint touch up work don’t allow others (especially pregnant people or young children) in the same room, wear protective gear, and clean your work area, yourself, and your tools to avoid moving lead dust around your home. When cleaning floors, use a damp mop instead of sweeping which can move lead dust around. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as vacuums without this filter spread the dust around more.

Trend chart of children tested for lead poisoning by age

Testing a Home for Lead

Maine CDC offers free home lead dust test kits to families with young children or children on the way. Learn more about the free test kit. Those who want to remove lead paint permanently can hire a lead abatement expert. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection maintains a list of licensed lead abatement professionals and has other resources for homeowners interested in hiring lead professionals. Find a lead professional.

Tracking lead poisoning data and risk factors such as age of housing and poverty levels allow us to identify areas in need of public health interventions and evaluate lead poisoning prevention efforts. Explore the data.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Home

Exposure to colorless and odorless carbon monoxide (CO) gas can cause dizziness, nausea, unconsciousness, or even death. While CO gas exposure can come from various items inside or outside a home, preventing exposure is easy. Gas and oil burning furnaces can emit CO gas when they are not functioning properly. That is why it’s important to have your home furnace inspected and cleaned every year. Portable generators also pose a CO danger. Always run generators outside and at least 20 feet away from windows or doors. Install a carbon monoxide detector near a home furnace, and in all sleeping areas. Test detectors regularly just like smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly. 

CO Data Coming Soon!

The MaineTracking Network is gearing up to publish carbon monoxide poisoning data to help public health professionals monitor trends over time and identify groups at high risk for CO poisoning. In addition to data about cases of CO poisoning and deaths related to CO poisoning, MaineTracking will publish data about exposure sources, detector prevalence, and demographic data. Taken together, these measures are used to plan and evaluate prevention efforts and track the impact of public health policies aimed at preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. Check back soon to see the data!

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