Community Events Scheduled to Discuss the Impact of Lead Poisoning on Children

Community Events Scheduled to Discuss the Impact of Lead Poisoning on Children

10/3/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Two community events featuring national experts on lead poisoning will be held this month in Ashland. Both events are free and open the public.

A seminar titled “Addressing our Community’s Crisis: Educational and Health Impacts of Childhood Lead Exposure” will be held for medical professionals, educators and community leaders on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the UH Samaritan Community Room at 663 E. Main St. in Ashland. There will be an opportunity for medical professionals to earn CE credit at no cost, and for educators to earn CE credit for a nominal fee of $20. Those planning to attend the seminar are asked to RSVP by Oct. 16 to or 419.521.6869.

A public lecture titled “Lead Poisoning: An Invisible Threat to Our Children,” will be held Wednesday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the UH Samaritan Community Room at 663 E. Main St. in Ashland. Both the lecture and seminar will feature Dr. Ted Lidsky and Dr. Ralph Spezio -- two nationally recognized experts on the problems associated with lead poisoning and how it can be prevented.

Lidsky will address the unique vulnerability of the child’s brain to lead, the effects of lead on academic abilities, and how the special education system can help to ameliorate the impact of lead on children. He is a neuropsychologist who has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and conducted basic research and clinical studies concerning the brain and behavior including the effects of lead on the nervous system. He recently retired from the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities. Lidsky has testified on lead poisoning to the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, and served as a consultant to the U.S. EPA and Health Canada concerning the neurotoxicology and neuropsychology of childhood lead poisoning.


Spezio is a retired elementary school principal from Rochester, N.Y., who is passionate about reducing the exposure of children to lead because of its insidious effects on children’s intellectual development. He served as principal of Rochester’s Enrico Fermi School 17 from 1990 to 2002, located in a neighborhood with a 98 percent poverty rate. He undertook a number of efforts to assist these children, including establishment of a Montessori preschool at the school, establishment of a community health and dental clinic attached to the school, creation of a stringed orchestra ensemble, and development of an active parent-teacher association. However, Spezio found that there were a number of students with serious behavior and learning problems who did not respond to the support structures he helped put in place. When he discovered that these students were dealing with elevated blood lead concentrations, he worked to organize parents, teachers, medical professionals and the community in Rochester to prevent lead poisoning in their community. Since its inception, the Rochester Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning has helped to reduce lead poisoning of children in Monroe County, N.Y., by more than 84 percent.

Lead poisoning remains an issue in both Ashland and Richland Counties due to the presence of lead paint in older housing.  The use of lead in paint for consumer use was banned in 1978, but lead paint remains in many older homes, often underneath layers of newer paint.

The Ashland events are being organized by the Ashland and Richland Counties Lead Poisoning Prevention Collaborative, which includes representatives from Ashland University’s College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, and College of Nursing and Health Sciences; the Ashland County Health Department; Ashland Family and Children First Council; Richland Public Health; and Appleseed Community Mental Health Center. 

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2018, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###