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During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, advocates urge action to protect children from Lead Poisoning

TOLEDO: Advocates hosted a news conference on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 1 p.m. at One Government Center to recognize National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and urge the City of Toledo to pass proactive, preventive legislation to protect Toledo’s children from the long-term, devastating consequences of lead poisoning.

Members of the Toledo Lead Poisoning Prevention Coalition (TLPPC), faith-based leaders, representatives from social justice organizations, and community advocates were present to raise awareness of this public health crisis and social justice issue.

“Lead poisoning is not a political issue, this is a moral issue, and we will do what is necessary to rectify this issue and save our children,” stated Bishop Robert A. Culp, Co-Chair of the Black/Brown Unity Coalition.

Since 2016, when the original lead ordinance was passed, an additional 1,000 children with elevated blood lead levels have been identified, which only includes those who have been tested and diagnosed. Lead-based paint is the most common source of lead exposure for young children and much of Toledo’s older housing stock still contains lead-based paint.

In the Toledo area, an estimated 3,500 children are afflicted by lead poisoning, and approximately 45,000 – 60,000 homes contain lead paint. Children who are lead poisoned not only experience an impact on their health and cognitive development, but also face long-term social, educational, and economic effects that significantly impair their life outcomes and ability to succeed.

The only way to effectively tackle lead poisoning is to prevent it from happening in the first place. In order to protect Toledo’s children from lead poisoning and provide equal access to safe and healthy housing, the City of Toledo should pass proactive legislation requiring rental properties to be inspected and registered as lead-safe.

“We do not have to wait,” said George Thomas, attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), who serves as legal counsel for the TLPPC. “We have carefully reviewed the current court case. Nothing prevents the City from passing a new ordinance that simply avoids the legal issues in that case. Lead poisoning doesn't wait for frivolous lawsuits and neither can we. It's our understanding that the city's law department has also concluded that City Council may proceed.” 

Delaying action means more children will face the irreversible, detrimental effects of lead poisoning that could have been prevented.

Each year, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) is a call to bring together individuals, organizations, industry, and state, tribal, and local governments to increase lead poisoning prevention awareness in an effort to reduce childhood exposure to lead. This year, NLPPW is October 20-26, 2019.

 
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