In Cleveland, Ohio, lead poisoning rates are nearly four times the national average. A recent Case Western Reserve study found that Cleveland children with elevated blood-lead levels were 27% less likely to be on-track for kindergarten; 34% more likely to be incarcerated as adults; and more likely to have relied on public assistance programs by age 23 than their non-exposed peers.
Lead exposure, even at low levels, can damage a developing brain and cause lifelong problems affecting education, behavior and health. Sadly, the most common place where children are exposed is the same place they should be the safest – in their homes.
To respond to Cleveland’s lead poisoning crisis, CareSource committed $5 million to the Lead Safe Home Fund to provide families and property owners the resources they need to make homes lead safe. This unprecedented investment by a managed care organization to make homes lead safe brings the total pool of dollars in Lead Safe Home Fund to more than $25 million. Created by the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, the Fund is designed to support effective, enforceable and equitable solutions in lead safety for qualifying property owners and families in Cleveland.
At CareSource, we believe that this kind of investment in primary prevention is not just the right thing to do; it includes sound fiscal policy with benefits that far exceed its cost. For children born in a single year, lead exposure will cost Ohio nearly $3 billion in reduced productivity, premature mortality, added health care, education, criminal justice and social assistance costs. When we invest in stable housing, we improve stable health outcomes and equity.
– Steve Ringel, CareSource Ohio Market President