GCLAC, Mayors Campbell and Goggins, and citizens kick off Lead Awareness Week in Mount Pleasant

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 07/19/2005 - 05:50.

Lead Awareness Week in Northeast Ohio kicked-off at 11 AM on July 18, 2005, with a press conference at the Zelma George Recreation Center, 3165 Martin Luther King Blvd., in the Mt. Pleasant/Kinsman area of Cleveland. City Department of Health Director Matt Carroll coordinated this informative and valuable insight-sharing session, with great support from area health professionals, community activists, Cleveland and Cuyahoga county staff, foundation workers and volunteers, all working together as the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council (GCLAC). The purpose of the conference and week is to raise public awareness for the risks of lead poisoning, and support preventative action.

Cleveland Mayor Campbell has been an active spokesperson for lead awareness and made that a priority in her work in government and at City Hall. She was on hand to discuss the importance of awareness of the risks of lead poisoning and explain what is being done in this region - an area with especially high lead poison rates - working to prevent lead poisoning and eradicate lead exposure risks in Greater Cleveland by 2010.

Mayor Campbell pointed out this effort is not just about Cleveland but the region, as she introduced East Cleveland Mayor Goggins to speak of the this initiative's extension of Lead Awareness into her city. Mayor Goggins' outreach was especially poignant as, she explained, her son was afflicted by lead poisoning in 1974, and her city has high lead poison rates.

 

The purpose of Lead Awareness Week is to help Greater Cleveland residents understand the risks of lead poisoning, help them determine if they are at risk in their environments, and support prevention of exposure before it is too late. To demonstrate how that process is enabled, a Mt. Pleasant area citizen spoke of his experiences - when he had children on the way he evaluated lead risks in his home and sought remediation - as he explained, "it eases the mind to know your home is clean".

The tragedy that comes from not being lead aware was expressed by the mother of a 10 year old child who, at age 4, was found to have a blood-lead level of 70. While no level of lead in the blood is safe, levels of 10 and above are known to cause harm. This impassioned mother spoke eloquently of the pain and damage lead had brought to this beautiful child and her family. The mother has now dedicated her life to lead awareness, leading CCOAL - Mayor Campbell acknowledged her important role in this region-wide battle.

A high level of commitment to eradicate lead in Greater Cleveland, shown today by area government leaders and the GCLAC and affiliates, has been made possible because the St. Luke's Foundation provided over $1 million in funding for this long term initiative. A representative of the foundation spoke at this press conference on their commitment to support better health and welfare for Greater Clevelanders through eradication of lead here by 2010.

From 5-9 PM later that day, city and Cuyahoga County health service professionals and volunteers went door to door in the area surrounding the Mt. Pleasant community center, spreading awareness of the dangers of lead poisoning, providing spot testing of children and inspections of residents' homes, distributing clean-up kits, and sharing information on city and county services available to help residents protect their homes and children from danger. Throughout the week, similar community center based, neighborhood door-to-door outreach campaigns are scheduled for the Cleveland Detroit-Shoreway and Glenville neighborhoods and in East Cleveland.

Through this immediate, proactive, week-long outreach, 100s of area residents will be tested for elevated lead levels, 100's of homes will be inspected, $ millions will be put to use for lead poison prevention, and 1,000s of lives and Greater Cleveland in general will be very well served.

After Lead Awareness Week has passed, it is essential awareness of the harm caused by lead increases! More information on Lead Awareness Week is found at this link. Information on GCLAC and eradicating lead in your environment is found throughout this site.