6 NW Ohio counties share lead-paint cleanup aid


COLUMBUS -- Six counties in northwest Ohio are among 36 counties that will share a $2.1 million lead-based paint hazard control grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The money will be used to identify and clean up lead hazards in homes, officials in the state health department announced.

The health department has allocated $600,000 of the grant for houses in Allen, Ottawa, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, and Wood counties. The department contracted with WSOS Community Action in Fremont to help manage the program.

"This award will allow [the health department] and our community partners to take our lead poisoning prevention efforts further than ever before," said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, department director.

Lead poisoning in children ages 6 months to 6 years old can cause learning disabilities and physical problems. Officials estimate that 36 percent of Ohio children in that age group live in dwellings that pose the greatest lead hazard -- those built before 1950. And when lead is found in a house, it has to be professionally controlled or removed so children are not exposed, officials said.

Community action agencies pledged more than $300,000 to help in the lead cleanup and to make houses more energy efficient.

In addition, $200,000 from the Ohio Department of Development and $100,000 from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency will be used to manage the project, a health department spokesman said.