Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The rate of lead poisoning in Lewiston, Maine, is three times higher than the Maine state average (Lewiston Auburn Lead Program 2018a). There are various programs that exist at the state and federal level to reduce childhood lead poisoning, but what is the role and responsibility of the municipal government, the governing body that is closest to the problem and the people affected by it? This thesis project identifies four spheres of action in which municipal governments can work to address the various dimensions of risk experienced by the people living in these municipalities. The 5-Year Strategic Action Plan for the Reduction of Childhood Lead Poisoning in the Cities of Auburn and Lewiston, implemented in 2015, is analyzed to assess its effectiveness in acting in these spheres and equalizing the distribution of risk. Assessment of the plan shows that it does propose action in all spheres and addresses the identified dimensions of risk, though it does not necessarily balance equal actions in all spheres or all dimensions. Further consideration of the plan found that the strategies included come from a well-intentioned place of social justice. However, there is a significant disconnect between the plan as it is written and the action currently being taken by the Lewiston City Government, meaning the shared responsibility and equal distribution of risk do not manifest in practice as one would expect. Through this research we achieve a better understanding of the role of local government in the multi-level effort to reduce lead poisoning and an idea of the way this issue should be approached by cities in the future. Municipal governments have the potential to eliminate lead poisoning through comprehensive planning, sustainable implementation, and a willingness to listen to their constituents.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Francis Eanes

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.