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City of Akron

Excerpt from the City of Akron 2005-2009 Consolidated Plan

Demonstration of Need/Extent of the Problem

The lead problem in Akron, Ohio, is extremely serious. A November, 1992, Summary Report for Project LEAP (Lead Education and Abatement Program) listed the city of Akron as being in the top ten of 83 Midwestern cities because Akron has one of the highest percentages of high-risk housing and one of the highest percentages of children that were found to exceed 10mg/dl in blood lead concentrations. The City of Akron falls within the high category with 17 percent of children screened in the target areas in Akron clinics above 10ug/dl and an additional 18,000 children at risk for lead poisoning.

Socioeconomic Conditions

In order to demonstrate the extent of the problem of lead poisoning in Akron, the Akron Health Department Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) was in the forefront in probe screening of children under 6 years of age as early as 1975 identification of children under 6 years of age. They initially found 8.5% of Akron's children with elevated lead levels. The total number of children 6 years and younger within the City of Akron is 18,637. In determining the extent of children with elevated blood lead levels, current statistics show that 4,123 children or 22% of the 18,637 total are at risk and in need of interventions both medically and environmentally. Socioeconomic factors thar demonstrate the prevalence of lead exposure include these factors: 1) the poverty levels in Akron's targeted census tracts show that a concentration of approximately 27% of the families do not exceed 50% of the median income, and 73% do not exceed 80% of the median income, 2) 17% of the children tested for lead levels in these areas had levels that are elevated, and 3) 72% of the homes in these areas were built prior to 1950.

Housing Stock

An examination of census tract figures illustrates that a significant majority of the pre-1950 housing is within the Enterprise Community and in need of both exterior and interior abatement. Environmental factors that demonstrate the prevalence of lead hazards include: 1) 95 percent of the housing stock (91,553) was built prior to 1978, 52 percent (50,113) was built prior to 1950, and 37 percent (35,430) was built prior to 1940. The Akron Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has attempted to reduce and prevent the lead problem in Akron's children. Akron is one of the first cities in Ohio to have a Lead Hazards Ordinance in place. This is paramount in order to enforce orders to reduce lead hazards in identified homes where children with elevated lead levels reside as well as preventing potential further exposure to families with children under six years of age. The City of Akron contains an estimated 35,634 dwelling units with the potential for lead-based paint hazards. It is estimated that nearly all low, very low and extremely low income households that reside in older housing are at risk of exposure to lead-based paint hazard as defined in Section 1004 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. This figure was derived by multiplying the number of units (rental and owner-occupied) of a given construction period occupied by income group (CHAS, Table 12) by the percentage of units corresponding construction periods likely to contain lead-based paint (Table 3-3, page 3-9, Comprehensive and Workable Plan for the Abatement of Lead-Based Paint in Privately Owned Structures).

Target Areas

The target areas selected for funding under this grant application are 11 census tracts in the city of Akron. The census tracts have very high socioeconomic and environmental risk factors that demonstrate the prevalence of lead exposure. Those factors are age of housing, high poverty, low proficiency test scores, and concentrated ethnicity. These statistics were also the determining factor in selecting this area for the federally designated Enterprise Community funding and initiatives. Current STELLAR data identified a high concentration of children found to have lead poisoning in these targeted areas. The targeted areas have documented evidence that lead poisoning is epidemic in Akron, Ohio. The current scope of the Akron CLPPP includes screening of 6,886 high-risk children in the calendar year 2001, identifying 17 percent with confirmed blood lead levels greater than 10 mg/dl within the target areas and 8.5% elevated within the entire jurisdiction of Akron, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers lead levels greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter to be elevated and unsafe.

 

Census Tract Total Population 6 years & under Tested for Lead >10ug/Dl Housing Pre- 1950 % Below Poverty CDBG/EC Areas
5024 2215 231 81 24% 78% 22% Both
5025 1780 262 68 15% 91% 16% EC
5031 2521 273 108 15% 92% 27% Both
5034 1948 246 45 9% 55% 22% Both
5042 2487 273 69 17% 83% 35% CDBG
5052 1990 229 109 34% 63% 24% Both
5053 2442 391 151 8% 42% 25% Both
5064 3705 413 81 23% 82% 36% CDBG
5065 4496 428 147 12% 90% 28% CDBG
5067 2884 557 88 19% 67% 33% CDBG
5075 6979 820 228 15% 68% 33% CDBG
  33,447 4123 1175 17% 72%* 27%*  

* CD Community Development Block Grant areas
* Federally Designated EC Enterprise Community

There are 18,673 children 0-6 years of age in the City of Akron, with 4,123 or 22 percent at risk for lead levels greater than 10mg/dl and in need of interventions medically and environmentally. With 6,461 children tested in 2001 within the jurisdiction of the Akron Health Department, 495 children had lead levels greater than 10 mg/dl indicating that 8 percent of the children tested have elevated lead levels. An additional 12,212 children are not tested for lead on an annual basis. There are 4,123 children 0-6 years of age residing in the 11 census tracts targeted for this grant program. Of this total, 27 percent of their households are below 50% of the area's median income and of the 1,175 tested for lead, 200 children had lead levels greater than 10mg/dl, or 17 percent of the children tested had elevated leads in the targeted census tracts.

There are 14,436 homes in the targeted census tract areas. Of those, 13,276 were built before 1978, and 10,471, (72 percent) were built before 1950. The Akron Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has identified and assessed an average of 200 homes per year. These homes are identified through screening and identification of children with lead levels greater than 15mg/dl conducted by the Akron Health Department clinics and referred to the Akron Health Department by Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron. During the past two years, the Akron Childhood Lead Prevention Program has done risk assessments of 369 homes where elevated or at-risk children reside, 90 percent containing significant lead hazards. Out of the total number of homes 310, or 84 percent have been cleared of lead hazards.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

The Akron Department of Public Health has undertaken a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (CLPP) Program since the mid-1970s. A City Lead Poisoning Hazards Ordinance bolsters the program. The program features neighborhood outreach and education, a Mobile Blood Screening Unit, and a computerized database monitoring system. The Health Department is currently screening approximately 6,000 children yearly through various well-child clinics in high-risk areas and the WIC Program. The screening program identifies an average of 100 children with elevated lead levels yearly. Children who are identified with lead poisoning receive case management from public health nurses conducting home visits including retests, medical follow-up and education. Affected children also receive a lead environmental investigation. This environmental component assists families with abatement supplies, advice and referral. The housing programs offered by the City of Akron are coordinated closely with the City's Health Department. Further discussion on Lead-Based Paint hazards and abatement are found under the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Strategy.

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