Does Knowledge of Indoor Air Quality Lead to Changes that Improve Health?

HUD grant funds three-year study

Will education about asthma triggers inside homes motivate people to make environmental changes that reduce asthma-related symptoms? That is the focus of a new grant awarded to National Jewish Health from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The nearly $875,000 three-year grant will determine if results of an indoor allergen and mold test, and education about reducing household asthma triggers can motivate families with asthmatic children to make behavioral changes that lead to improved asthma symptoms and outcomes.

"If knowledge of the levels of indoor asthma triggers within a household does indeed motivate people to improve their home environment then clinicians and community public health workers could find an environmental evaluation kit to be a valuable tool to improve the quality of life for asthmatic children," said Michael Van Dyke, Industrial Hygienist and Project Manager at National Jewish Health.

"Funding the demonstration grant will help identify and eliminate housing conditions that contribute to children's disease and injury, such as asthma, mold exposure, and carbon monoxide contamination," said HUD Regional Director John Carson. "HUD is awarding the grant to help protect Colorado children from many health and safety hazards and to build on our commitment to ending childhood lead poisoning."

Researchers will enroll disadvantaged families with at least one asthmatic child from northeast Denver neighborhoods. National Jewish Health will work closely with the Northeast Denver Housing Center to identify and enroll appropriate families and to help manage renovations that may be necessary to reduce indoor asthma triggers.

Trained neighborhood workers from Northeast Denver Housing Center will perform a home environmental evaluation using the Family Air Care® Allergy and Mold Test Kit, developed by National Jewish Health. The evaluation will assess levels of common indoor allergens and relative moldiness within the home. Allergens are a common cause of increased asthma symptoms and exacerbations. Reducing their levels can help improve asthma control. Educational materials on allergen and mold reduction strategies will be given to families when they receive the test results.

Researchers will then evaluate changes in behavior, asthma-related symptoms, asthma medication use, and school absenteeism quarterly for one year after home evaluation.

The grant is part of the HUD Healthy Homes Initiative. The initiative includes $3.5 million in demonstration grants to identify and eliminate housing conditions that contribute to children's disease and injury, such as asthma, mold exposure, and carbon monoxide contamination. HUD is also investing $2.1 million to support scientific research into new ways of identifying and eliminating health hazards in housing.

National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. For 11 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish the No. 1 respiratory hospital in the nation. The Advanced Diagnostics Lab at National Jewish Health is the nation's leading immunology reference lab, featuring a comprehensive menu of respiratory, molecular, and companion diagnostic tests. More information can be found by visiting njhealth.org.

U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.hud.gov/ and http://www.espanol.hud.gov/.

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