Proactive Home Improvement

Lead Safe Home Repair is the best thing you can do to protect children from lead poisoning. Beginning March 2021, all rental units built before 1978 in Cleveland are required to achieve Lead Safe Certification. To learn more, visit the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition’s website!

Printable Resource about Lead Safety in Cleveland


  • Wash children's hands and toys often with warm soap and water
  • Wash children's outdoor toys and porch surfaces
  • Keep children away from flaking and peeling paint
  • Do not let small children play in the dirt
  • Do not let children play inside window wells
  • Always place babies and infants on clean blankets
  • We suggest children between 1-6 get tested twice a year for lead exposure, at least once in the summer months
  • Make sure children have a diet high in calcium and iron


  • Run water in the morning for at least 3-5 minutes before drinking or cooking
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly


  • Do not track dirt or soil into your home
  • Remove your shoes at the door
  • Use door mats


  • Exposed soil may be contaminated with lead and should be tested
  • Use raised plant beds
  • Cover exposed soil with mulch, gravel, or seed to grow grass
  • Don't plant food next to chipping and peeling paint
  • Plant grass to cover bare dirt if you have a yard
  • Plant thorny bushes to limit access to painted surfaces
  • For more info on lead in soil and gardening, visit:

Home Improvement

  • Avoid projects that may disturb lead paint, or use a certified contractor
  • Wet wash window sills, wells, and flat surfaces regularly to reduce lead dust
  • Use disposable towels when cleaning and rinse surfaces at least twice
  • Do not dry scrape or sand blast paint

Asthma Trigger Control


  • DO NOT SMOKE in the home or car around asthmatics- very strong asthma trigger!! Smoke outside and use a smoking jacket, remove before returning to the home. The smell and exposure to smoke particles, can trigger an asthma attack
  • If you have a leak or water on wood, drywall, clothing, carpeting, or any porous surface, mold can grow and trigger an asthma attack. Throw soaked items away!
  • Keep cardboard and newspaper out of basement, use plastic storage bins instead
  • If there is a family member in the home with respiratory conditions, do not use chemicals or cleaning products with strong odors- they can trigger an asthma attack
  • Use a HEPA vacuum to reduce dust
  • Keep the child’s room safe- put toys in a box, only keep one stuffed animal, ,remove trinkets and dust collectors

Pest Control

  • Remove food sources. Roaches like the bait, but they like cookie crumbs and potato chips better. Clean up food crumbs from floors, tables, counters, couches and chairs every day
  • Do not use roach bomb, fogs and sprays that can trigger asthma- use gel baits and bait stations instead
  • Place bait stations near food and water sources and places where roaches hide
  • Use a syringe to put small dabs of gel bait behind the stove, refrigerator and other areas that the roaches go to
  • Remove sources of water. Fix leaks. Wipe up spills. Do NOT leave pet water out
  • Get rid of all the boxes, bags, clothes and paper that make up clutter in your home
  • Seal up roach living areas and entry points in walls and cabinets. Use caulk, steel wool, screens and foam to fill cracks and holes
  • Use allergan mattress and pillow covers to reduce exposure to dust mites.

Moisture Control Strategies

  • Air Circulation - Make sure to let fresh air in and stale air out. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to get rid of moisture. Keep the door open after showering if there is no bathroom exhaust fan
  • Drying clothes - Hang clothes outdoors to dry or use a clothes dryer properly vented to the outside
  • Fix leaks - Fix and/or report roof or plumbing leaks. Throw out everything that is water soaked. They are also a perfect place for mold to grow

Mold Control

  • A certain kind of black mold may cause a serious lung disease in babies
  • This mold can grow on wood, paper, wallboard or similar products that have been soaked by leaks or flooding
  • Call your local health department for help if there is a baby living in your house and you think this mold is present
  • Throw out boxes, wallboard, newspapers, clothing and anything that is wet or has mold growing on it
  • If there is a small amount of mold use bleach to clean, but you must get rid of the moisture source and wet materials or mold will reappear
  • For larger surfaces or damage consult with a professional- NO ONE with respiratory issues should be in close proximity to mold or be responsible for clean up

Healthy Homes


  • Dry: Damp houses provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches, rodents, and molds, all of which are associated with asthma
  • Clean: Clean homes help reduce pest infestations and exposure to contaminants
  • Pest-Free: Studies show a relationship between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children; inappropriate treatment for pest infestations can cause other health problems, since pesticide residues in homes pose risks for neurological damage and cancer
  • Safe: The majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children and elderly adults, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings
  • Contaminant-Free: Chemical exposures include lead, radon, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to asbestos particles, radon gas, carbon monoxide, and secondhand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside
  • Ventilated: Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health
  • Maintained: Poorly maintained homes are at risk for moisture and pest problems. Deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing is the primary cause of lead poisoning, which affects some 535,000 U.S. children
  • Thermally Controlled: Tenants and homeowners are at risk for various health problems related to prolonged exposure to excessive heat or cold when their homes do not maintain adequate temperatures