Cleveland’s poor neighborhoods plagued by high levels of lead, which is seeping into children

Updated: Jan. 8, 2019 at 6:14 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A new report from Case Western Reserve University is raising concerns among Cleveland families.

Nearly a quarter of students at several CMSD schools had high levels of lead.

“I had a child today on my schedule who was coming in for a lead follow-up and they didn’t come,” said Dr. Lolita McDavid, from University Hospitals.

Children who live in older homes often eat the sweet-tasting lead paint chips, and put their hands in their mouth with lead dust on them.

Pregnant women, who have a high lead burden, can release that from their bones into the blood.

“Lead deposits in the soft tissues, and your biggest soft tissue is your brain,” she said.

All children should be tested at the age of 1, then every year until they’re 4 or 5.

Rob Fischer is an associate professor at Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

“Disturbingly, we found about a quarter of Cleveland kindergartners are arriving at school already having documented lead history. Some of the schools have a third to nearly a half with level in their blood,” Fischer said.

That automatically puts children at risk of learning and behavioral problems.

Professor Fischer’s research found unacceptably high levels in many of Cleveland’s older communities, including Glenville, St. Clair-Superior, Buckeye-Woodhill, Broadway-Slavic Village and the Stockyards community.

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