YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Lead poisoning is still a problem inside Youngstown homes.
Forty years ago, lead paint was outlawed in the United States, but state health data shows that Youngstown kids are still getting sick from the metal.
“We discovered that there’s no safe level of lead toxicity. No level of lead is safe,” said Dr. Therese Linnon, of Akron Children’s Hospital.
State data shows that nearly 1,300 kids test positive for lead every year, which can lead to long-term problems.
“The effects of lead can be lifelong — once you have lead toxicity, it can lead to lifelong intellectual disabilities,” Linnon said.
Still, kids who live in homes with lead can be safe.
“If we find the lead source and we eliminate it, that will eliminate any further problems from the lead,” Linnon said.
Peeling, chipping paint is the number one culprit. It can also be found in water pipes and soils.
Because the paint was used for so many years, it’s nearly everywhere in the community. The older the home, the higher the risk there is lead inside.
Ninety percent of the homes in Youngstown were built before 1978. Experts say that means a lot of children are at risk.
The Mahoning County Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program spends millions of dollars getting lead out of kids’ homes. The program is available to low- and moderate-income homeowners and rental properties.
This year, the county is asking for even more money, more than $4 million.
“We will probably look at around 170, 175 units to submit with this grant,” said Phillip Puryear, head of the county’s Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control Department.
The hope is to eventually get lead out of all the homes in Mahoning County.