Breaking the Link Between Unhealthy Housing and Unhealthy Children

Ruth Ann Norton, President & CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), recently authored a piece for the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) about the impact of GHHI on the health of the families that we serve. TFAH works on a variety of issues to help protect the health of every community and make disease prevention a national priority. The article is featured in TFAH’s new report titled A Healthier America 2013: Strategies to Move from Sick Care to Health Care in Four Years.
In the article, titled “Breaking the Link Between Unhealthy Housing and Unhealthy Children,” Norton discusses GHHI’s innovative single stream education, assessment and intervention model. Norton writes, “GHHI produces measureable results that demonstrate better service delivery and health outcomes for Medicaid and Medicare children and families and reduce long term costs for health care providers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In short, people get healthier and health care costs go down.”
Read the article in its entirety at TFAH.

January is National Radon Action Month

Whether it was joining a gym or not checking their Smartphone every minute on the minute, many people resolved to do things a little differently in 2013. But as in years past, these resolutions may very well fall by the wayside. But this year, make your resolution to ensure you have a healthier and safer home count and kick off the year right. January is National Radon Action Month. Learn how you can take action to lower the radon level in your home.
What is radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, invisible gas that can only be detected through radon testing. It is a radioactive gas that is produced by the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils.
Why should I take action?
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that exposure to radon in the home is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Yet it’s a health hazard with a simple solution. Learn more about the health risks related to radon exposure.
How can I take action?

The EPA recommends all homeowners test their residences for radon gas concentrations. There are both short- and long-term testing kits available.

Find information on your state’s radon program, with contact information here.

Refer to the EPA’s website for additional information including remediation information if radon is found in homes.
For more information on GHHI’s housing assessments, which includes radon testing, and how to have your own home assessed by the GHHI team, please email marylandprograms@ghhi.org or call 410-534-6447
Be sure to check out the EPA’s Radon PSA featuring retired NFL player Chester Pitts  that encourages homeowners to test their home for radon.

Important Televised Discussion on the Effects of Lead Exposure

On MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show, its host leads an important in-depth discussion on lead exposure and its effects on kids, communities and crime.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Every Child Deserves a Green & Healthy Home for the Holidays

Dear Friends,
 
For a child, the holidays are often a time of great joy, excitement and wonder. But for some children who live in homes that make them sick, their holidays do not hold as much promise.
 
We hope that this holiday season, you will support the work of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative  (GHHI) to ensure that every child has access to a healthy, safe and energy efficient home. GHHI is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is making a difference through programs and services that have helped to create thousands of healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. Your tax deductible gift will help us continue to expand our efforts across the United States to break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children.
 
Today there are 6 million families living in unhealthy housing conditions, including 450,000 kids who suffer from childhood lead poisoning. The results of this tragic and costly disease leave children with irreversible cognitive damage that diminishes their ability to read and succeed in the classroom and in in life.
Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. Home hazards like mold, poor indoor air quality and pests can trigger severe asthma episodes, sometimes requiring emergency room visits and hospitalizations. It is estimated that kids miss 14 million school days a year due to asthma-related illnesses. Your donation helps us help these children by making their home safe and healthy.
 
Examples of our recent work include:

Since 2010, we've created 3,500 healthy, safe and energy efficient homes in 14 cities throughout the U.S. for families living in low-income neighborhoods

In 2012, we helped develop and advocate for successful passage of legislation in Maryland to require improved safety measures for renovation and repair in older housing to help prevent lead poisoning.

We provided technical assistance and capacity building services to 22 U.S. cities to advance health-based housing programs.
We hope that you will make sure that GHHI is on your holiday list this year. Please help us fulfill the wishes of the thousands of children to live in safe and healthy homes!
 
Best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season,
 
Ruth Ann Norton
President & CEO

Baltimore City Health Officials Find Up To 2,400 Times the Maximum Allowable Lead Level in Jewelry Sold by Local Vendor

Baltimore City Health Commissioner issues order to halt sale of two pieces of children’s jewelry after testing measured 900 to 2,400 times the permissible lead level (see photos of jewelry).
News release below provided by Baltimore City Health Department:
BALTIMORE, MD (December 11, 2012)—The Baltimore City Health Department has issued a Notice And Order To Remove Health Nuisance to Choice Corner, 400 W Lexington St. to prohibit the sale of two items of jewelry that were identified with a lead level in metal components above 100 parts per million (ppm). The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been alerted to the most recent findings.
The Health Commissioner is deeming all products of the same style and manufacturer of these items to be a nuisance to public health. These products may not be offered for retail sale in Baltimore City.
Excess lead levels in children can severely impair development and can even cause death.
“These products sell for $1 each, but they are hardly a bargain. The costs of lead poisoning can last a lifetime,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “The lead content in these two products is off the charts, making them a significant danger to small children.”
Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause severe illness and even death at high doses and cognitive impairment and other neurological problems at lower doses. On August 14, 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission published new, more stringent standards on permissible lead content in children’s products. As of August 14, 2011, the permissible level of lead in children’s jewelry with metal components was lowered to 100 ppm of total lead.
The following items were sold at the Choice Corner, 400 W. Lexington St.:
1) Item: Blue Kitty Ring.  Total Lead Content:  240,000ppm
2) Item: Silver Rhinestone Kitty Necklace & Earring Set. 
Total Lead Content: Necklace Clasp 160,000ppm; Necklace Charm 9,800ppm
The Health Department ordered laboratory testing of five children’s jewelry products purchased from 3 stores in Baltimore City. Only the above products were found to be in excess of 100 parts per million.
“Parents who may have purchased these products should discard them immediately. The Health Department will continue to look for children’s products with high lead levels so parents can shop with confidence, knowing toys sold in the city are safe,” Dr. Barbot said.
To reduce the chances of lead poisoning, parents should not allow children to swallow, suck on or chew a metal charm or necklace jewelry.
Baltimore’s regulation on lead in children’s jewelry can be found here.

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