Cleveland Clinic partners with city to address lead levels

Cleveland Clinic and the city council will provide tens of millions of dollars in funding over the next several years to protect children and ensure safe lead levels in Cleveland homes. 

Cleveland Clinic will provide $50 million over the next five years to the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, the health system said Jan. 13. Meanwhile, the city council has agreed to provide the coalition $17 million over the next two years. The city's donation will come from the funding it received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. 

The Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition is a public-private partnership that offers landlords loans, grants and other incentives to make their properties safe for residents. The coalition also educates residents on how to inspect and remediate lead in their homes. The donations from Cleveland Clinic and the city will bring the coalition's Lead Safe Home fund to about $115 million. This is enough funding to ensure all rental homes built before 1978 — the year residential lead paint was outlawed — in Cleveland are lead safe, according to the news release. 

"This effort is critical because prevention is the only effective approach. There is no cure and no way to reverse the damage of lead poisoning once it is done," said Tom Mihaljevic, MD, CEO of Cleveland Clinic. "I want Cleveland to be safe for all children, and I know this is a problem we can solve. Our communities can only be safe and healthy when every person has the opportunity to live in a safe and healthy home."

The Cleveland City Council in 2019 passed the Lead Safe Certification law, which requires all rental units built before 1978 be certified as lead safe by March 1, 2023.

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