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Over 400 Toledo children have been poisoned by lead this year

Lead poisoning is a lifelong condition that can cause learning disabilities, low I.Q., and even increase the likelihood of criminal activity.
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 6:56 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Lead paint was banned in the United States in the 1970s, but lead poisoning is still a risk to children. This is National Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, and this national movement has special significance locally.

In the last year, more than 400 Toledo children were poisoned by lead, according to Toledo’s Lead Safe coordinator, Stephanie Beebe. She also says that Toledo is one of the worst cities in regards to lead poisoning because most of our homes were built prior to the 1978 lead paint ban.

The city recently passed laws requiring owners of small properties to undergo inspection and make their properties lead-safe for their tenants. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded the city $5.7 million to help with the effort.

Lead poisoning is a lifelong condition that can cause learning disabilities, low I.Q., and even increase the likelihood of criminal activity. Young children are required to be screened for lead levels until the age of six.

“I want people to know that this is a problem that exists and that is affecting our children on a daily basis. And it goes so much farther than just affecting those kids. It can affect their ability to earn savings and become competent workers for the rest of their lives,” says Beebe.

“Anytime you have a lead poisoning, you’re affecting children, and then you know children with grow into adults in our community and if you have those lingering concerns throughout their life, that is a significant issue for that individual, but for our community, too,” says Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski.

Fortunately, Toledo is not facing issues of lead seeping into the water supply from pipes, like in cities across the country, most notably, Flint, Michigan. Our lead pipes are currently being replaced regularly, and lead levels are within EPA guidelines.

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