Toledo Rotary is addressing our community’s lead exposure and lead poisoning problem in several ways. Toledo Rotarian Mark Jacobs is a member of Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz’s lead abatement task force. Toledo Rotarian Dick Wolff is our club’s representative on the Toledo Lead Poisoning Prevention Coalition. The Coalition was instrumental in getting Toledo City Council to pass a new lead paint ordinance on November 12th. The new ordinance requires all rental units built before 1978 within the City of Toledo to be registered, inspected and certified as lead-safe over a three year period starting in June 2020. This is a significant step forward, although there is a possibility of a legal challenge by rental property owners. Additionally, enforcement of the original lead ordinance, passed in August 2016, was declared unconstitutional by a Lucas County Court judge, and that decision is currently on appeal.
Our club has also forged a relationship with Pastor Don Fothergill and his organization, Toledo Together. Toledo Together is a ministry associated with Washington Church on Central Avenue in West Toledo, affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Its mission is to develop a network of churches to serve the people of Toledo, and its current focus is the remediation of lead paint exposure in owner-occupied homes. Toledo Together recently remediated its first home with all volunteer labor and donated supplies. Toledo Rotarian Curt Hitchner helped Toledo Together find a discounted price on a HEPA vacuum. The Toledo Rotary Board recently approved a contribution of $1,500 to Toledo Together to pay for the HEPA vacuum and a paint sprayer.
Dick Wolff has organized a group of Toledo Rotarians to serve as a lead abatement advisory committee. This committee will recommend lead abatement projects for our club, identify businesses and organizations with whom we can partner and coordinate volunteers and supplies for groups like Toledo Together.
Our Club was contacted by Toledo Public Schools to help with lead poisoning testing. Currently, all Head Start students in TPS are tested for lead poisoning, but there are no funds available to test the remaining 1,000 TPS preschoolers. The Toledo Rotary Board recently approved the contribution of $10,000 to fund this testing in the current school year. In addition, Toledo Rotary is going to challenge other organizations and businesses, such as Toledo Community Foundation, Promedica, and Owens Corning, to commit to providing annual funding for the preschool lead poisoning testing on a rotating basis