HUD Archives: News Releases

Bob Young
HUD Atlanta Regional Director
(404) 331-5001 ext. 2008
For Release
March 19, 2007

"Children Act Fast... So Do Poisons" - Pesticide Awareness Fair

JACKSONVILLE - As part of Pesticides Awareness Week, the Florida Poison Information Center-Jacksonville (FPIC), along with the Healthy Jacksonville 2010 Environmental Health Coalition and the Duval County Health Department,
will host the Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Outreach Pavilion at the Pesticide Awareness Fair to be held at Jacksonville's Shands Hospital Learning Resource Center Atrium from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. on March 22, 2007.

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton has designated March 18-24 as Poison Prevention Week in Duval County remarking,
"I ask all citizens to join me in this special observance by participating in appropriate activities and learning how to prevent poisonings. The efforts of our community, complemented by the efforts of the Florida Poison Information Center have reduced poison exposures in Jacksonville and throughout North Florida," Peyton said.

As part of National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW) the Children Act Fast.. So Do Poisons - Pesticide Awareness
, will provide information on the proper use of pesticides and will feature the HUD's Healthy Homes for Healthy
Kids Outreach Pavilion
located on Jacksonville's Shands Clinical Center campus at 655 West 8th Street. Admission
to the Pavillion is free and open to the public starting at 9 a.m. on March 22. The Pavilion is a project which
promotes awareness of the relationship between housing-related hazards and their links to adverse health effects.

Every year, doctors inform parents that their children have been poisoned by dangerous lead-based paint. Public health officials report an alarming increase in the number of children suffering from asthma triggered by common conditions in their own homes. Dramatically reducing the number of these tragic stories is the focus of an intensive three-year, 30-city Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Campaign announced last spring by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

HUD's Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Campaign was launched to confront a multitude of home health and safety hazards that many parents are not even are aware of. "Doctors should never have to inform parents that their own home made their children sick," said Jackson. "If we can educate young mothers before their child ends 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."

[Photo 1: Baby wearing a dust mask]

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." The advertising campaign will instruct parents in 30 cities to contact their local health departments for more information about how they can take some simple steps to keep their children safe.

In addition to Jacksonville, the following cities are involved in HUD's campaign: Atlanta; Houston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New York City; Richmond, VA; Washington, DC; Detroit; Chicago; Pittsburgh; and Hartford, CT. The Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Campaign is traveling to more cities over the next two years as the Department identifies areas where local health and housing departments are working closely to integrate public health strategies with housing rehabilitation.

[Photo 2: Iyanla Vanzant]

Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant is HUD's national spokesperson for this campaign. A best-selling author and principal on the NBC daytime series "Starting Over," Ms. Vanzant is a powerful speaker who has helped countless people embrace positive and meaningful change in their lives. She also brings a personal approach to the subject of children's health. Ms. Vanzant's own grandson lives with the legacy lead poisoning.

Lead Hazards

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, Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Campaign will inform parents about a number of simple ways they can protect their kids. These techniques include: wash bedding in hot water, greater than 130° every week; use dust mite pillow cases and mattress covers; eliminate cockroaches using gel baits, sealing outside cracks and storing food properly; and maintain 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
dry water-damaged areas as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth.

In 2006, HUD awarded $171 million to address lead and other hazards in housing. This funding will control these hazards, conduct research, educate housing contractors, and provide outreach to the public. This 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.

The Florida Poison Information Center-Jacksonville is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Call the Center at (800) 222-1222 (Voice/TYY) for poisoning emergencies or to ask for information. The Center is staffed with skilled healthcare professionals who give rapid life-saving information, promote cost-effective treatment and prevention,
and personal service, often going the next step to ensure peace of mind during a poisoning emergency.

The Florida Poison Information Center-Jacksonville is a cooperative effort among the University of Florida College
of Medicine, Shands Jacksonville, the University of Florida Health Science Center- Jacksonville, and the State of Florida, Department of Health, Children's Medical Services. The American Association of Poison Control Centers designates the Florida Poison Information Center- Jacksonville as an accredited regional poison control center.


For more information, contact U.S. HUD-Jacksonville Public Affairs Coordinator Matthew Stewart at (904) 232-2627


Content Archived: March 15, 2011