Lead poisoning affects young children and pregnant women most severely, and the damage can last the rest of that person’s life. There is no cure for lead poisoning, though some treatment options are available. If you suspect you or your child is suffering from lead poisoning, consult your doctor immediately and request a test. The Toledo Lucas County Health Department also performs lead testing in our community.
Ohio law requires all children age 6 and under in high-risk zip codes, which covers all of Toledo, to be tested for lead poisoning. Most lead poisoning goes undetected and untreated because a person is asymptomatic or symptoms are attributed to other causes. Therefore, the best way to know if you or your child is lead poisoned is to get a test. There is no safe level of lead in the bloodstream.
Possible Signs and Symptoms in Children:
Loss of appetite
Sluggishness and fatigue
Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren’t food (pica)
Because the majority of Toledo’s housing stock was built before 1978, we have inherited a large, toxic legacy of lead paint. Every year, hundreds of Toledo children test high for lead in their blood, 5 µg/dL or greater. There is no safe level of lead in the bloodstream. 5 µg/dL represents the highest 2.5% of children ages 1-5 in the entire U.S. population. You can read more about elevated blood lead levels on the CDC’s website.
We know that the majority of lead poisoning occurs in homes built before 1978 from the ingestion of lead-based paint and the consumption of lead-dust. Visual inspection alone cannot tell us if this granular level of lead-dust is present; dust wipe analysis is recognized by health departments across the country and the EPA to determine lead-dust levels. Dust wipes are currently our best available scientific tool for measurement and enforcement of lead safety.
Owners of all residential rental properties in Toledo must register with the Auditor. Compliance for the rental registry portion will begin enforcement on June 30th, 2021.
Owners of 1-4 unit properties built before 1978 must also get a Lead-Safe Certificate from the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. Those who operate family childcare homes (e.g. in-home daycares) also need a lead-safe certificate but do not need to register with the Auditor’s rental registry.
Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8) properties are not exempt and must get a Lead-Safe Certificate.
Applications for the Lead-Safe Certificate require a lead-safe report (e.g. clearance report) and a $25 fee. Apply for a Lead-Safe Certificate by printing and mailing the Lead Safe Certificate Application with all appropriate documentation and a check. Online submissions with payment will be available soon!
Those owners who received a lead-safe certificate or a clearance inspection under previous ordinance versions will be grandfathered in automatically and do not need to repeat work already done in good faith or submit a new application.
Qualifying properties must pass a visual and dust wipe inspection performed by a local lead inspector. The certificate is valid for 5 years. Fully abated properties are eligible for a 20-year certificate with proper documentation.
The City of Toledo’s Department of Neighborhoods will coordinate the program and wraparound services with the Lead Safe Coordinator.
After the first compliance date (June 30th, 2022 for the most at-risk census tracts), the Division of Code Enforcement will enforce the lead law under the current nuisance housing code.
Visit our For Owners page for more information and resources available to property owners.
The rental registry is part of Ohio Revised Code 5323 and handled by the Lucas County Auditor. It applies to all residential rental properties in Toledo. This is not new, and most rentals are already registered. The City’s new ordinance piggybacks on the existing registry and provides enforcement under the Division of Code Enforcement.
Under the City ordinance, “Residential Rental Property” means any part of a structure being used or occupied as a private residence, including attached structures such as porches or stoops, occupied by any person or persons other than the property owner and/or members of the owner’s “Immediate Family” regardless of whether or not the owner occupies another portion of the structure.
Toledo Public Utilities has replaced city-owned lead service lines systematically for 20 years through its water main replacement program. Visit the public utilities website for more information, including resources for property owners to replace their lines.