Lead Poisoning

photo of Lyn Lotas

Cleveland has a lead problem. That’s according to a school official who is now working to make sure children in the district get tested for lead exposure.

Debbie Aloshen is the director of health and nursing services for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.  She says "lead is one of the most underreported diseases there is.” 

Aloshen says she’s seen lead exposure manifest itself in children in a variety of ways—creating mental, behavioral, and even severe physical problems.


Cleveland City Councilman Jeff Johnson is proposing a new law to track and reduce lead hazards in the city. The ordinance would affect rental properties, schools and other public buildings, and private homes built before 1978.

The proposal also includes grants through city and non-profit organizations to pay for inspectors to check the buildings. The grants would pay part of the inspection cost for landlords and all of it for private homeowners.

Sandusky in Erie County, OH
Ken Winters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Libra

Three northeast Ohio counties are among twenty-three locations around the U.S. chosen to be part of a $53-million-dollar, federal lead-paint cleanup program.  Erie, Mahoning and Summit counties will get s$7.5  million over three years.  The money is to help with the decontamination of a total of 305 currently-occupied, old houses. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  initiative is the latest round of a decades-long national effort to get rid of the toxic paint additive.  

Cleveland Council

 Cleveland averages an estimated 400 cases of lead poisoning each year.  During a hearing today city health and housing officials briefed council on attempts to change that.

 Some members of City Council believe the city’s lead- poisoning prevention programs must focus more on eliminating lead in homes before children become sick.  WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports.