Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) gathering signatures to get initiative on November 2019 ballot

Fighting Lead Exposure
Fighting Lead Exposure
Published: Feb. 16, 2019 at 8:36 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It’s well-known that there is a MAJOR problem with lead poisoning around the country, including here in the city of Cleveland.

It can lead to a lifetime of emotional, mental, physical and behavioral problems that can be almost impossible to overcome.

That’s why local groups are now working together to reduce lead exposure.

Saturday morning dozens of volunteers gathered at the West Side Market to collect signatures.

The group, called CLASH for Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing is trying to get an initiative on the November 2019 ballot.

“For those who don’t know our rates here in Cleveland are twice as high as Flint Michigan. We talk about Flint but we never talk about Cleveland," said Yvonka Hall, MPA.

Last month, Case Western Medical School of Social Sciences finished a study that found, Percentage wise, some of Cleveland’s kindergarten schools in the Glenville, St. Clair-Superior; Buckeye-Woodhill; Broadway-Slavic Village and the Stockyards communities have a third to nearly a half of their students with lead in their blood.

“We know the statistics, we’ve read it in the paper, we’ve seen all the things that are going on. We know that right now, at least 4 babies are poisoned every day," said Hall.

Attorney Rebecca Maurer wrote the bill and says this is a first: going to the ballot on a health issue. The proposed ordinance would require all city rental properties and day care centers built before 1978 to be tested for lead hazards and be certified as “Lead Safe” by 2021. It will also include protections for tenants.

“What we need to do is move to a preventative model, we need to have our homes be lead safe not just wait until after a kid is poisoned and that’s what this bill does and that’s what we’re trying to start the conversation about," said Maurer.

CLASH plans to get 10,000 signatures and then file a petition with City Hall. The plan is to canvas the city for the next 6 weeks.

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