BPHC receives funds for asthma projects

The environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Boston Public Health Commission a $160,000 grant to demonstrate the effectiveness of a citywide asthma intervention, providing home-based asthma education and environmental services by trained health workers here in East Boston.

These services adhere to the National Heart, Lung Blood Institute guidance regarding the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and address multiple home environmental contributors to asthma through an online and follow-up system accessible to both clinicians and public health officials.

“This is a city-wide home visiting initiative for Boston families with asthma. So, families from East Boston will qualify for the benefit,” said Ann Scales of the BPHC. “We particularly work with health institutions–like East Boston Health Center or MassGeneral–to identify children with poorly managed asthma who would most benefit.”

Scales said the service is educational home visits, from a community health worker, with low cost asthma supplies including, for those who need them, asthma blocking bed covers, a HEPA vacuum, cleaning and pest control supplies and referrals for additional resources.

The grant is one of seventeen cooperative agreements to nonprofit organizations and a university, totaling approximately $2.4 million dedicated to the improvement of indoor air quality nationwide. Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors where levels of air pollution may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. Some indoor air pollutants include dust mites that can trigger asthma attacks and/or radon that can cause lung cancer.

The goal of these projects is to educate Americans on how to reduce the environmental health risks of indoor contaminants through demonstrations, education projects, training, and outreach efforts. EPA is placing particular emphasis on reaching households with children, low-income families, and minorities because they are disproportionately impacted by poor indoor air quality.

The cooperative agreements will:

• Promote positive indoor air quality management practices in schools nationwide, including holistic approaches to environmental issues.

• Create awareness to reduce asthma triggers in the home and encourage the use of an asthma management plan.

• Increase the number of homes tested for radon and built with radon-resistant features, and increase mitigation of radon in existing homes.

• Increase effective indoor air quality practices in office buildings.

• Motivate Americans to improve their home’s indoor air quality.

More information about indoor air cooperative agreements is available at www.epa.gov/iaq/cooperative_partners.html

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