We need the same sort of strongly worded guidance for our schools, a US Surgeon General's Strategic Plan for Schools, which does not yet exist, but could, in the near future. SMH will followup with a letter to that effect, offering our assistance. We encourage you, also, to call and write the US Surgeon General's office with your concerns related to the need for a plan to ensure that our schools become healthy places to occupy. We have provided his contact information, below. Also, we have listed the Surgeon General's Health Priorities - many of which tie into prevention of health problems and education - exactly our mission, here at The Center for School Mold Help.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Contact: U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development: 202-708-0685
Office of Public Health and Science: 202-205-0143
Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., today issued The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes at a press conference from the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. The Call to Action looks at the ways housing can affect health; its release will initiate a national dialogue about the importance of healthy homes.
“The home is the centerpiece of American life,” Galson, a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service, said during today’s press conference. “We can prevent many diseases and injuries that result from health hazards in the home by following the simple steps outlined in this Call to Action.”
Some examples outlined in the Call to Action include preventing falls by taking measures such as installing grab bars in showers and preparing a fire escape plan. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults.
Other steps outlined in the Call to Action include:
- Check gas appliances, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces yearly and change furnace and air conditioning filters regularly.
- Keep children safe from drowning, lead poisoning, suffocation and strangulation, and other hazards.
- Improve air quality in their homes by installing radon and carbon monoxide detectors, eliminating smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, and controlling allergens that contribute to asthma and mold growth.
- Improve water quality by learning to protect and maintain private water wells.
Galson urged everyone from parents and homebuilders to community leaders and policy makers to embrace the holistic approach to creating healthy homes outlined in the Call to Action.
During the event, Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also announced the release of HUD’s Healthy Homes Strategic Plan. HUD’s plan demonstrates why healthy homes is a national priority, describes what steps should be taken to achieve healthier housing, and highlights the key public and private partners for implementation.
“We are pleased that we are able to release our strategic plan to the nation today,” Sims said. “We must continue to work together across communities and the nation to ensure our homes are sited, designed, built, renovated, and maintained in ways that support the health of residents.”
The Call to Action outlines the next steps of a society-wide approach to healthy homes that will result in the greatest possible public health impact and reduction of disparities in the availability of healthy, safe, affordable, accessible, and environmentally friendly homes.
- Individuals can make their homes healthy and more environmentally friendly by improving air quality, safely using household products, properly using safety devices, adequately supervising children, and abating the use of toxic chemicals.
- Organizations can educate at-risk populations about the connection between health and housing, and identifying and addressing home deficiencies.
- Health care providers can incorporate healthy housing solutions into their protocols.
- Government can help create homes that are affordable and improve people’s health. Adequate supplies of affordable housing must be made available in order for healthy homes to be achieved.
“Good health begins at home. Home is the place that most families connect, talk, and make decisions about their health,” said Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health within the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “Ensuring that the nation’s homes are safe, healthy, affordable, accessible and environmentally friendly will have a direct, immediate and measurable effect on the health of the nation.”
The Call to Action also highlights the need for research that links housing conditions with specific health outcomes and that highlights the impact of disparate access to safe, healthy, affordable, and accessible homes. The outcomes of this research should result in tangible improvements to people’s lives by translating practice into policy.
The release of this document is part of a larger Healthy Homes Initiative led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and HUD with support from such organizations as the National Center for Healthy Housing, the Alliance for Healthy Homes, and the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning.
Please visit www.surgeongeneral.gov for more healthy home information, to download The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes, or to listen to a podcast from the Acting Surgeon General.
To order a printed copy of The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes, call 1-800-CDC-INFO or email
and reference the publication title.
Please also visit: www.cdc.gov/healthyhomes and www.hud.gov/healthyhomes.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: June 09, 2009
Mold is mentioned in The US Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes, 2009 18 times in 78 pages.
Moisture is mentioned 8 times. Dampness is mentioned 6 times. Water is mentioned 51 times. Toxic is mentioned 18 times. Bacteria is mentioned 1 time. Mycotoxin is mentioned 0 times.
Some of the areas mold is mentioned in this document (page #'s are from pdf paging):
Allergens and Asthma
The predominant health outcome studied in conjunction with allergens in the home is asthma. Nearly 15 million asthma-related physician and outpatient hospital visits and almost 2 million asthma-related emergency department visits occurred in 2004. Environmental factors in homes that can contribute to the occurrence or severity of asthma include exposure to pests and pet dander (Akinbami and Schoendorf 2002), airborne and settled dust, dust mites (Institute of Medicine 2004), mold, and other conditions such as excess moisture.
from page 18
Dampness and the presence of mold are also associated with asthma and other respiratory health complaints. Exposure to dampness and mold in homes is estimated to contribute to approximately 21% of current asthma cases in the United States, at an annual cost of $3.5 billion (Mudarri and Fisk 2007). Moisture in homes supports the growth of mites and mold and the infestation of roaches, rats, and mice—all of which produce allergens that aggravate asthma and other preexisting chronic respiratory conditions, although it is not clear at what levels these contaminants cause allergic sensitization (Bornehag et al. 2004; Institute of Medicine 2004; Krieger and Higgins 2002; Mudarri and Fisk 2007).
from page 25:
In 2005, 6% of all U.S. residents and 14% of low-income renters lived in homes with severe or moderate physical problems, such as water leaks that can cause mold growth and trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks (U.S. Census Bureau 2006).
from page 31:
Reducing Allergens and Asthma
Homes should be designed, operated, and maintained to prevent water intrusion and excessive moisture accumulation. Moisture can be controlled by repairing water leaks, installing suitable insulation to avoid condensation, and ventilating rooms properly. When water intrusion and moisture accumulation are discovered, the sources should be identified and eliminated quickly to reduce mold growth and to reduce infestations of cockroaches and rodents (Institute of Medicine 2004). Allergen levels can be controlled by vacuuming and cleaning hard surfaces. Mold growth should be eliminated in a way that limits the possibility of recurrence and that limits exposure of the occupants and persons conducting the remediation. Mold should not be cleaned using mixtures of ammonia and bleach, which may produce poisonous gas. Porous materials such as ceiling tiles, wall boards, and fabrics that cannot be cleaned should be removed and discarded (New York City Department of Health 2000; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2001). Because dead mold may still retain its allergic or toxic properties, replacing rather than cleaning is often the best mitigation option (Foarde 1998; Institute of Medicine 2000).
from page 41:
Clarify relationships of home characteristics and mental health:
x Define effects of exposures to natural light, mold, crowding, and multifamily homes on mental health outcomes.
Office of the US Surgeon General, Contact Information:
Office of the Surgeon General
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Public Health Priorities
of the US Surgeon General's Office
The Acting Surgeon General, RADM Galson, has named four areas of focus in addressing public health concerns: disease prevention, eliminating health disparities, public health preparedness, and improving health literacy.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is urging parents and homebuilders to make their homes more healthy by getting rid of lead paint, mold, and other hazards.
Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson and Housing Deputy Secretary Ron Sims launched a coordinated federal effort Tuesday to prevent diseases and injuries from potential health dangers in the home.
"In the United States today, the leading preventable causes of death, disease, and disabliity are asthma, lead poisoning, deaths in house fires, falls on stairs and from windows, burns and scald injuries and drowning in bathtubs and pools," Galson said.
Among the safety actions the new effort is promoting:
_Improvement of air quality in homes by installing radon and carbon monoxide detectors.
_Control of allergens that contribute to asthma and mold growth.
_Testing of houses occupied by children less than six years of age for lead.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that about 24 million homes have significant lead-based paint hazards.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.