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PolitiFact: CLE lead levels higher than Flint's

Posted at 4:48 PM, Mar 07, 2016

In last night's Democratic debate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought up Cleveland, and our partners at PolitiFact were on top of it. 

The debate took place in Flint, Michigan, where most of the news has revolved around their lead-contaminated water supply. 

Clinton said, "We have a higher rate of tested lead in people in Cleveland than in Flint. So I'm not satisfied with doing everything we must do for Flint. I want to tackle this problem across the board." 

PolitiFact wanted to know if Cleveland's lead problem comes close to Flint's. 

The Centers for Disease Control monitor data on lead, which is found in paint in older homes, and in soil as well as water. The CDC said that lead levels are "elevated" in a blood sample if the reading is five micrograms or higher. 

According to the CDC, in Flint, 6.3 percent of kids in high-risk areas tested positive for lead poisoning in 2015. In Cleveland, that level was 14.2 percent. But the lead in Cleveland is from paint, and not the water supply, which wasn't clear from Clinton's statement. 

It's not just Cleveland. In counties where the CDC gathers data on lead, 288 counties have higher rates of lead poisoning than Flint, nationwide. 

PolitiFact rated Clinton's claim about Cleveland's lead levels Mostly True