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Deadline for lead ordinance extended, landlords say city cannot enforce $10,000 fine

A lawsuit was filed against Toledo ordinance that forced landlords to remove lead paint before June 30.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Earlier this month, city officials gave Toledo landlords until June 30 to remove any lead paint from their buildings or face a fine of $10,000. Now, the city is being sued. 

Toledo Municipal Code Chapter 1760, otherwise known as the "lead ordinance," requires landlords who own buildings built before 1978 have lead-tainted paint removed from their properties. Since the chapter's introduction last year, approximately 600 landlords have fixed the problem. 

The new deadline and fine are being challenged in court. According to the lawsuit, nowhere in the municipal code does it grant the city to enforce the ordinance with a $10,000 fine.

In response to the lawsuit, Toledo officials have moved the deadline to Aug 1, 2022. Additionally, the city and the plaintiffs must inform the court of the status of their discussions by late July. The extended deadline leaves the possibility of the lawsuit still open. 

The city has situated lead paint removal as a crucial health issue. Prolonged exposure to lead can have severe effects. According to the National Institute of Health, lead poisoning symptoms can include "delayed reaction times, irritability, and difficulty in concentrating, as well as slowed down motor nerve conduction and headache." At higher doses, lead poisoning can cause symptoms as serious as delirium, seizures, and comas. It can also lead to cancer, reproductive issues and birth defects.  

In children, the effects can be much more severe because their bodies are in a state of growth and development. Children with lead poisoning may exhibit irritability, aggressive behavior, and a refusal to play. 

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