Toledo’s Lead Law: Questions over fairness and cost of compliance

Despite the pushback and a slow start to compliance, the city’s guiding ordinance will not be removed from Toledo’s urban code in the foreseeable future.

The ordinance, passed by Toledo City Council last August, has drawn the ire of some landlords and at least one country official. The law was designed to protect children from lead exposure, not a punishment for landlords.

Merrin refuses

The most notable opposition to the ordinance came from the Ohio House of Representatives this spring when Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) added a change to the state budget that would have canceled the leading Toledo ordinance. The change was designed to maintain the status quo and mandate the state – not the local health department – to oversee key issues in Toledo and elsewhere across the state. The Ohio House of Representatives passed the amendment, while the Ohio Senate later rejected it.

Merrin published his position in May on-line “Let’s start with a simple fact: Toledo’s law is unconstitutional. It targets a small minority of property owners and treats them legally unequal. “

Merrin, who did not want to comment on the article, wrote in his online article that larger residential complexes were deliberately excluded from the regulation. “At least one Toledo official owns an apartment complex that has been deliberately derogated from,” it said.

City officials say the regulation focused on the smaller, older units, simply because that is where the lead is.

State funding

The city has received support on lead issues.

It wasn’t until the end of June, when the state Senate decided to provide Toledo with up to US $ 150,000 annually in matching funds over the next two years to combat the lead problem, particularly in the “historic southern quarters of Toledo”.

On Monday, July 17, Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, City of Toledo Neighborhood Director Bonita Bonds and federal housing and urban development officials announced the availability of $ 2.9 million in federal grants for lead-sensitive home repairs. $ 2.5 million is earmarked for lead-related improvements and $ 400,000 is earmarked for other environmental hazards such as mold. Pamela E. Ashby, director of the HUD field office in Cleveland, stated that the HUD is providing lead-based paint Hazard Control (LBPHC) and Healthy Homes grants to local governments to help protect families and their children from lead-based paint and other home improvement. and security risks.

People can now call the Department of Neighborhoods at 419-245-1400 to inquire about grant funds.

Toledo received $ 2.2 million from the HUD in 2012, administered through the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, and 111 homes were refurbished.

“Toledo is leading the state in drafting a new law to prevent lead poisoning in the city and is working on lead-safe homes for all of our children. This is very welcome news that we have now received support from HUD to help protect Toledo families from the dangers of leaded paint, ”said Mayor Hicks-Hudson.

Deadlines extended

The guiding ordinance issued in September 2016 required that all affected buildings be compliant within one year. Around 50,000 buildings in Toledo are affected by this ordinance. In April – with around 100 compliant objects – that deadline was extended by deadlines for the next few years based on the greatest risks of lead exposure. The first deadline is now June 30, 2018, with deadlines for less dangerous objects in 2019 and 2020. There are now 85 inspectors registered to carry out the lead safety inspections required by the regulation.

Despite the slow start to major regulatory compliance, Josh Niese, the Toledo-Lucas Department of Health’s chief safety officer, sees the compliance process picking up pace as the months go by. “We built the infrastructure, provided education, and built up a workforce that could do the inspections. Our organization is committed to the success of the program. “

As of July 28, 2017, David Welch, Director of Environmental Health & Community Services at Toledo-Lucas County Health Department reports that 234 properties have passed the main inspection.

Once a property passes the exam, which costs an average of $ 300 to $ 400, it receives either a one-, three-, or six-year certificate. Annual certificates are granted to LMHA Section 8 homes that are legally classified into a one-year category. Three-year certificates are granted to homes that previously failed the main inspection. Properties that are passed straight away receive a six-year certificate. Currently 57 properties have a one-year, three a three-year and 132 a six-year certificate.

“The lead safe regulation of the city of Toledo provides for a property to be made lead-safe and not lead-free,” explains Welch. “The amendment to the amendment is positive. Now you have three different time frames available so it’s a great way to stretch that out and try to get all the property owners on within a year is just a lot of work. Not only does it help us, it also gives landlords with multiple properties more time to take care of everything. “

How do you get the lead out?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed laws in 2010 to prevent contamination from leaded paints. Simple tests can determine the presence of leaded paint in a home, and there are several ways to remove or protect the paint. To do this safely, it is critical to work with a contractor who is certified to remove lead paint and who can determine the best strategy for reducing varnish.

When encapsulating or wrapping, a specially made coating is brushed or rolled up to create a watertight bond to seal the lacquer. Is the easiest and cheapest method, but the least effective. Opening and closing doors and windows can eventually wear off the coating. Encapsulation products start at around $ 50 per gallon. On 1,200 to 2,000 square meters. ft. at home, it costs $ 800 to $ 1,400 with no labor.

Removal approaches vary, but often include using a wire brush or scraping with liquid paint removers with wet hands. Contractors often wet sand surfaces with a highly efficient, dusty (HEPA) filtered vacuum. Sometimes paint can be peeled off with a low temperature heat gun. Burning with an open flame, torches, machine grinding without HEPA attachment, sandblasting or high-pressure cleaning are prohibited. On average, the EPA estimates that professional lead paint removal costs about $ 8 to $ 15 per square foot, or about $ 9,600 to $ 30,000 for an area of ​​1,200 to 2,000 square feet. ft. house. The average moving project costs about $ 10,000.

Toledo-Lucas District Health Department
635 N. Erie St., 419-213-4100. Lucascountyhealth.com

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