(Ohio) – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announces multi-million-dollar investment for lead paint abatement in homes.
The state department announced the nearly $45 million investment this week. The grants will go to Canton, Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, and Lima as well as to Cuyahoga, Erie, Mahoning and Summit Counties. Grants range in amount from $2 million for Lima and $9.7 million for Cleveland.
Officials explained that children are especially vulnerable to health complications related to lead poisoning, which is often caused by exposure to dust from deteriorating lead paint in homes built prior to 1978. Reports indicate those health complications can lead to damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development and learning, behavioral, hearing, and speech issues.
Homes will be identified through an application process and other means such as referrals from area agencies and organizations as well as links to children who have been diagnosed with lead-related illnesses.
Governor Mike DeWine’s administration has stated that lead removal and remediation in cooperation with early intervention and treatment are the priorities of the state. Earlier this year, Governor DeWine announced an effort to encourage screening, increase early intervention services and expand the number of lead workers and contractors. This month he announced the creation of a state Lead Advisory Committee.
Last year in Ohio, approximately 168,000 children younger than 6-years-old received a blood screening test for lead and according to the Ohio Department of Health, about 2.3% received tests confirming lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter or higher.
State law requires health-care providers to administer blood lead level tests to certain children at ages 1 and 2 or up to age 6 if no previous test has been completed. Children required to be tested include those on Medicaid, living in high-risk ZIP codes or with other identified risk factors.