CLEVELAND -- With the primary in Ohio now just a week away, lead has become a hot topic.
The candidates are not just talking about the problems in Flint or even Sebring, either. On Sunday night, Cleveland came up.
“We have a higher rate of tested lead in people in Cleveland than in Flint,” said Hillary Clinton during a debate broadcasted on CNN.
Darrick and Deborah Wade of Cleveland believe it is about time the subject has received such attention. Nearly nine years ago, they buried their son Demetrius.
“And we watched it,” Darrick said. “And there was nothing we could do.”
A routine checkup revealed that Demetrius had elevated lead levels. The family had been living in public housing at the time, and there was old paint.
They claim Demetrius quickly showed many classic signs of poisoning.
“The IQ, we witnessed the aggression,” Darrick said. “We witnessed the learning disabilities.”
John Sobelewski is with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and says more than 2,000 children were poisoned in 2014.
The Wades are not alone.
“It’s that chronic, ongoing exposure that takes place every single day,” Sobelewski said.
The region's numbers are truly staggering.
More than 6 percent of children in greater Flint are now believed to have elevated lead levels, whereas Sobelewski says the figure soars above 14 percent in greater Cleveland. Paint, not water, is mostly to blame.
Experts say parents should get their kids tested early and continue to do so.
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