Asthma, Climate Change, and Health – JB Webinar Notes: These are not official notes of the EPA. They are my notes and provided for your information.
The webinar was provided by the Community Health Partners for Sustainability. http://www.chpfs.org
The webinar was initiated by EPA Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP). The OCHP Director is Dr. Ruth A. Etzel, M.D., Ph.D, Director, Phone: (202) 564-2188. Dr. Etzel started the webinar by noted that Climate Change and health is an important health issue. The Climate Crisis is a public health crisis!
She reminded us that October is Children’s Health Month. http://www2.epa.gov/children/childrens-health-month http://www2.epa.gov/children/childrens-health-month
She mentioned the Presidential Climate Action Plan: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/25/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-climate-action-plan
The webinar was part of the National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC) Healthy Environment for Families program: http://www.nncc.us/index.php/program-center/a-healthy-environment-for-families
Climate change is worse for children with asthma. Increase in heat exacerbate asthma conditions and children in low income families have it worse.
The webinar focused in on EPA Region 3 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania)
The webinar reported on Asthma Prevalence: vulnerability, vulnerable populations. Provided pertinent data for each state (and DC).
Environmental triggers for asthma include: volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ground level ozone, nitrous oxides, household pests, and “black” mold.
VOCS: Organic compounds in households: paints, pesticides, cleaning supplies, especially stuff that is stored indoors
Ground level ozone (O3) O3 is harmful at ground level. Nitrous oxides plus Vocs can lead to O# and other stuff known as urban smog
NOx – nitrous oxides: air pollution heavily travelled roadways, unvented gas stoves and heaters household pests
Black mold: warm, damp, humid conditions= bathroom, kitchen, and basements.
Household pests include roaches, dust mites (major contributor to asthma) Increase in humidity means and increase in households pests.
“Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time.” (EPA, 2014)
Climate Changes: Temperature, Sea Level Rise, Precipitation
This in turn has profound effects on: Health, Ecosystems, Agriculture, Forests, Water Resources, and Coastal Areas.
What does Climate Change Look Like Nationally? They used a different graphic but this link pretty much tells the story: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/us/2015/sep/grid/temp/tave-anom-201509.gif
(There is lots of interesting climate information here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/)
For Asthmatics: Climate Change Means: Increased exposure to: • Air toxins from outdoor sources • Air toxins from indoor sources • Household pests • Molds
How does Climate Change Affect Household pests? The pests like warm humid conditions. The more warm humid conditions, the more pests.
Mold = Higher seas = more frequent flooding.
Air quality = go here to check out the air quality in your community: http://www.airnow.gov/
Greener, cleaner choices: http://www.chpfs.org/chpfs/images/Webinars/AsthmaClimateChange/greener_cleaner.pdf
How to Reduce Impacts
First level (easy), second level (some effort), and third level (habit change – more effort)
Outdoor Air Toxins
First Level: Avoid going outdoors on days with high levels of ground-level ozone • Reduce energy use (e.g. turn off lights when leaving a room)
Second Level: Take alternative transportation (e.g. public transportation, biking or carpooling)
• Convert to a renewable energy supplier
Indoor Air Toxins
First Level: Open windows when cooking or using cleaning chemicals
Second Level: Switch to low VOC products- these are usually labeled “green” • Store paints and other high VOC products in shed detached from home
Third Level: Convert to a renewable energy supplier
First Level: Regularly recycle cardboard, newspaper and boxes to minimize places for pests to hide • Never leave food out • Regularly clean
Second Level: Use mattress and pillow encasements to avoid exposure to pest allergens • Wash linens weekly in very hot water
Third Level: Patch or replace holes in walls or screens • Fix leaks and other causes of moisture buildup
First Level: Regularly clean shower curtains • Ventilate during showers • Do not use a humidifier or vaporizer
Second Level: Use a natural, charcoal-based dehumidifier • Monitor home humidity levels with a hydrometer
Third Level: Install bathroom exhaust fan • Fix leaks and other causes of moisture buildup • Contact a mold removal specialist
Five things you can do right away
1. Open windows when cooking or using cleaning chemicals.
2. Keep pests out of your home by washing dishes often, fixing leaks, and cleaning up clutter.
3. Wash and dry linens weekly on high heat.
4. Stay indoors during extremely hot weather.
5. Ventilate bathrooms during showers by opening windows or using properly vented exhaust fans
See webinar presentation: http://www.chpfs.org/chpfs/images/Webinars/AsthmaClimateChange/ENDURING%20Climate%20Change%20and%20Asthma%20Presentation_Webinar.pdf
This presentation started with the “big picture” using high level individual (who was obviously not recorded previously) moved directly into the subject matter and provided practical, easy to implement solutions and provided hop for the future pending our actions.
This presentation started with the “big picture” using high level individual and moved directly into the subject matter and provided practical, easy to implement solutions and provided hop for the future pending our actions.
Very good presentation.