HUD Region VI-08-50
(817) 978-5974/(940) 297-9267
August 1, 2008
HUD TO UNVEIL "HEALTHY HOMES FOR HEALTHY KIDS CAMPAIGN" IN NEW ORLEANS AT SATCHMO SUMMERFEST
Model Home Exhibit Will Teach Parents How to Protect Children from Lead, Mold and Allergens
NEW ORLEANS - Every year, doctors inform parents that their children have been poisoned by dangerous lead-based paint. Public health officials are reporting an alarming increase in the number of children suffering from asthma that
is triggered by common conditions in their own homes.
Dramatically reducing the number of these tragic stories is the focus of an intensive three-year HUD campaign, and this week, as part of that campaign, New Orleans's Satchmo Summerfest will host HUD's special "Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids" Model Home exhibit. It will be open on Saturday, Aug 2, from 11:00 a.m-6:00 p.m. and on Sunday,
Aug. 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The Healthy Homes Pavilion is a model home with interactive exhibits that teach parents and kids about the
potential health dangers in their homes, including lead, allergens, mold and moisture, and how they can avoid or eliminate them. To make it a fun experience, face painting, balloons and coloring books will be provided for the children.
"Doctors should never have to inform parents that their own home made their children sick," said HUD Regional Director A. Cynthia Leon. "If we can educate parents before their children end up in an emergency room, then we've done our job. Our goal is to protect children and give parents the tools they need to make certain their kids grow up safe and healthy."
"Doctors should never have to inform parents that their own home made their children sick," said HUD Regional Director A. Cynthia Leon. "If we can educate parents before their children end up in an emergency room, then we've done our
job. Our goal is to protect children and give parents the tools they need to make certain their kids grow up safe and healthy."
HUD's "Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids National Campaign" also includes print, television and radio advertising, in English and Spanish, designed to highlight the home health and safety hazards that many parents may not even be aware of. HUD's print advertising includes a dramatic picture of an infant whose face is covered by a dust mask warning parents, "Your home can be hazardous to your family's health."
In older homes built before 1978, deteriorating lead-based paint can present a serious health hazard, particularly in children under the age of six. Lead exposure causes reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, poorer hearing, and a host of other health problems in young children. In later
years, lead-poisoned children are much more likely to drop out of school, become juvenile delinquents and engage in criminal and other anti-social behavior.
At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma,
convulsions and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 310,000 of
the nation's 20 million children under the age of six have blood lead levels high enough to impair their ability to
think, concentrate and learn. To prevent lead poisoning in children, parents can teach good hand-washing
practices, clean hard surfaces with a wet mop or rag, and use a HEPA (high-efficiency) vacuum when cleaning carpets.
Asthma and Allergies
Asthma attacks can be triggered by common allergens in the home including mold, dust mites, rodent droppings
and excess dust. To reduce these risks, the "Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Campaign" will inform parents about a number of simple ways they can protect their kids. These techniques include: washing bedding in hot water greater than 130° every week; using dust mite pillow cases and mattress covers; eliminating cockroaches using gel baits; sealing outside cracks; storing food properly; and maintaining a well ventilated home.
Mold and Moisture
Mold and moisture can significantly increase allergens in the home that can trigger asthma and other illnesses. The key to mold control is moisture control. After storm damage, or perhaps a leaky water pipe, significant levels of moisture can be introduced into homes, giving mold a foothold to grow in wet and warm conditions. It is critical to eliminate the source of the moisture and to dry water-damaged areas as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth.
HUD awards millions each year to address lead and other hazards in housing. This funding is use to control and eliminate these hazards, to conduct research, to educate housing contractors, and to provide outreach to the
public. The Health Homes for Healthy Kids Campaign is a critical part of the Department's combined approach of controlling hazards and helping families and landlords avoid creating them by giving them the information they need. This Campaign is also part of a national commitment to eliminate lead poisoning in children by 2010.