Video is from an earlier broadcast about lead policy in Ohio schools

CLARK COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) — A new initiative launched on Wednesday, Nov. 1 in Clark County addresses concerns of lead exposure in children.

The Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) released a statement detailing plans to decrease the number of children in the county with elevated blood-lead levels.

“Currently, 3.7% of children under the age of six in Clark County have elevated blood-lead levels.” CCCHD said.

The initiative aims to reduce this number to 2% by June 30, 2025.

Outlined strategies from CCCHD include:

  • Community Awareness and Outreach
  • Lead Hazard Control Efforts
  • Data Collection and Strategic Planning
  • Workforce Development

Another central part of the efforts includes a lead management program.

Case managers will work on identification, screening, education and coordination with healthcare providers to follow up testing of Clark County children and pregnant women. The testing is expected to lower the incidence of lead poisoning.

Clark County healthcare providers for children under 6 will be provided updated information regarding lead testing in children high-risk areas and on Medicaid. The CCCHD reports children 6 and under are at higher risk of lead exposure.

According to the Ohio Department of Medicaid, all children enrolled in Medicaid are required to receive blood lead screening tests at 12 and 24 months of age, but less than 60 percent of Medicaid children have had blood tests reported to the state’s registry in recent years.

The CCCHD reports the risk of lead exposure is more prevalent among children from racial and ethnic minority groups as well as children from low-income households. Significant disparities exist across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Nearly 40% of low-income children in Ohio are at risk for undiagnosed and untreated lead poisoning.

A two-year, $475,000 grant from the ODH is funding the operation.