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How state and local health officials are working to get the lead out and prevent dangerous exposure

Millions of homes built before 1978 still contain lead-based paint. Photo shows a painted porch railing.
Millions of homes built before 1980 still contain lead-based paint.

More than 67% of all housing in Ohio was built before 1980 and is likely to have some lead-based paint, either inside or outside, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The state health department requires children have their blood tested for lead if they are enrolled in Medicaid or if they live in a high-risk ZIP code. And under current state standards, most of Hamilton County is considered high risk.

But fewer Ohio children have been getting tested for lead since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that has local researchers worried.

"We are looking at this from a research perspective here now, trying to understand, are kids being missed as compared to before the pandemic, and who are those kids?" said Dr. Nicholas Newman, director the Pediatric Environmental Health and Lead Clinic at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "I think we've had some people fall through the cracks."

Researchers at Cincinnati Children's have determined that there's no safe amount of lead that children can have in their blood, Newman said, adding that lead increases risks for learning problems, hearing problems, behavior problems and an increased risk for ADHD.

On Cincinnati Edition, we discuss what local and state health officials are doing to prevent lead contamination and to help families reduce lead exposures.


  • Dr. Nicholas Newman, director, Pediatric Environmental Health and Lead Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Maryse Amin, Ph.d., assistant health commissioner and division director, Community Health and Environmental Health Services at the Cincinnati Health Department
  • Chuck DeJonckheere, waste management director, Hamilton County Public Health
  • Aaron Grant, senior project manager, People Working Cooperatively

If you own or rent a home in Cincinnati or Hamilton County – and have a child age six or younger who visits the home regularly  -- you could be eligible for help removing lead paint, dust and soil hazards. You can call PWC’s lead information line to learn more and see if you qualify. That number is (513) 366-4697.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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