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Cleveland continues to deal with lead poisoning

Posted at 6:34 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 18:34:45-05

A few weeks ago, we told you about state officials threatening to revoke the city's funding for its lead poisoning investigations.

Since then, the city says it’s been working with the Ohio department of Health to make changes, but now city council is stepping in.

“We’re trying to regroup, we acknowledge we have some challenges,” said the Chief of Public Affairs for the City of Cleveland NaToya Walker Minor.

When it comes to the lead poisoning problem in the city, she recognizes that the problem is deep and the reach is wide.

 “We have a problem. I’ve got a problem on my hands.”

At the hearing today, city council probed health and other officials about the root cause of the issue.

“This is a very large problem and I’m not sure that we know exactly how big the problem is,” said City Council President Kevin Kelly.

He said today was a starting point to begin to understand the full picture of the problem and search for solutions.

“The goal for today was to get an understanding of what the scope of the problems is so that we can put forth a plan to deal with this.”

A major sticking point of the meeting was the backlog of information dating back to 2003. We learned 230 Cleveland homes which house more than 700 children have been poisoned.

And we wanted to know what happened to the cases, but we didn’t get very far.

“Once we know what has occurred we’ll know what percentage of those and what number of those have fully been investigated. Right now, I can’t give you that number,” said Minor.

Darrick Wade, who lost his son more than 20 years ago to lead poisoning, says it’s about time city officials are held accountable.

“When you have the leaders over the people, over their jurisdiction, they have the power to make change,” he said.

The chief of public housing also mentioned implementing an internal checks and balance system. The initiative would address things like code enforcement and investigation updates.

In an effort to keep progress moving forward, another council hearing has been scheduled for the start of next year.

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