March/April 2018
DirectorDirector's Update

Although it's two months away, Healthy Homes Partnership (HHP) is busy preparing for another successful National Healthy Homes Month (NHHM) in June 2018. Although some other months have specific and important focuses (ex.: Lead or Radon Month), June has been set aside to address all the fundamentals of a Healthy Home. 
This includes communicating the importance of home assessments and making families aware of the 8 principles of a healthy home (dry, clean, pest-free, contaminant-free, safe, maintained, ventilated, and temperature controlled). 

This all-inclusive approach in outreach helps families understand that the healthiest homes are ones where all of the principles are considered and good practices are implemented. The theme this year is Check Your Home, Protect Your Family .

As part of the month's activities, HHP will again collaborate with the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes in providing technical webinars to stakeholders on this overall theme, with a focus on reaching under-representated groups such as Native American communities, families with income challenges, and middle school students. In order to prepare for NHHM, some webinars will be in late May and stakeholders should see the NHHM Toolkit released soon, containing a wide range of materials to use in promoting NHHM. 

Also consider attending the NEHA/HUD National Healthy Homes Conference June 25 - 28, in Anaheim, CA. More information on this conference can be found here.

Finally, this month's newsletter highlights the overall impact of the National HHP for the last three years.

Michael Goldschmidt, National Director - Healthy Homes Partnership  
USDA NIFA HH Happenings
Greetings from Washington, DC, US Dept. of Agriculture, National Institute of Food & Agriculture.
We're almost halfway in the cycle of the current Interagency Agreement (IAA) with U.S. Housing & Urban Development, Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes. Thanks to you for your high caliber work in developing the program deliverables. We're now beginning the process of establishing a new IAA for FY 2018. If you have ideas about where there are gaps in current programming, please share them with me.
The FY 2018 Federal budget includes substantial increases in lead, healthy homes, and weatherization related funding. For more information on the specific programs and their increased level of funding, visit the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.
Housing Education and Research Association's (HERA) annual conference, October 7-10 in Savannah, GA, will feature presentations of peer-reviewed abstracts (500-word papers), posters and keynote speakers in an atmosphere that fosters intellectual growth and development. Learn more at
The 2018 EDEN Annual Meeting Committee invites EDEN Delegates, Extension Professionals and Researchers to submit an abstract to be considered for presentation and/or poster at the Extension Disaster Education Network Annual Meeting, in College Station, TX, October 16-19, 2018.
Keep up-to-date with funding opportunities from NIFA; apply for funding to expand your programs. Last, please feel free to contact me at with your ideas, comments, and feedback about Housing & Environmental Health programs.  
Beverly Samuel, NIFA - Division of Family & Consumer Sciences (DFCS), National Program Leader

HUDHUD HH Happenings
National Healthy Homes Month Planning is Underway with Earlier Roll 
O ut this Year

National Healthy Homes Month in June promises to be bigger and better than ever! The HHP network plays a key role in its success, a top outreach event on the public health education calendar.

The overarching NHHM theme this year is Check Your Home, Protect Your Family. OLHCHH has developed a toolkit for stakeholders to help implement it in their local communities.

This year, OLHCHH asked grantees for ways to improve this annual celebration. One key suggestion was to roll out webinars in May, enabling stakeholders to have information to better implement activities during June.

The central goal is to raise awareness about the potential health hazards in homes, teach parents how to prevent exposures to lead and other hazards, and suggest actions to take. To get the community involved, local organizations are encouraged to organize, host local events, and empower families and other stakeholders to take action.

Michael Goldschmidt, National Coordinator forHHP, says, "NHHM showcases the vital work performed by the Healthy Home Partnership. With HUD and other stakeholders, we provide families with the resources they need to keep their homes safe from potential health hazards."

OLHCHH and HHP have many resources available to educate families, community organizations, housing professionals and others about indoor environmental health related issues, how to find out and what to do about eliminating them.

A digital toolkit with customizable materials is being developed. The OLHCHH website provides updates on resources, dates for webinars, events, and other activities.

Webinars, designed to support this theme, highlight the outreach. Currently, 10 different webinars on widely varying topics are scheduled. Many are being delivered through HHP:

* Healthy Homes Toolkit - Michael Goldschmidt, USDA NIFA/Healthy Homes Partnership
* Teaching the Next Generation Healthy Homes Principles - Sarah Kirby, NC
* Youth Healthy Homes App - Gina Peek, OK
* Protect Your Home: Top 5 Wind, Flood, and Fire Damage Defenses - Claudette Hanks Reichel, LA
* Assessing Indoor Air Quality and Indoor Household Hazards for Native Americans - Art Nash, AK
National HHP Highlights

This is a good time to review the overall mission, activities, and impact of the National Healthy Homes Partnership (HHP) of the last three years.

First, a brief reminder of the mission: HHP translates housing research into a stakeholder and consumer outreach program dedicated to reducing housing deficiencies and mitigating risks associated with family diseases and injuries due to poor housing conditions.
Healthy Homes Display at Georgia State Fair, Georgia HH

For the last 17 years, HHP has assisted individuals, families, and professionals using a  variety of tools that address:
  • mold
  • safe drinking water
  • lead poisoning
  • pests
  • pesticides and chemicals
  • carbon monoxide poisoning
  • radon and other toxins
HHP is funded by a n interagency agreement between USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes. Funding provides 8-10 land grant institutions with yearly grants to enhance both statewide activities and maintain a national presence for HHP. All together, HHP is represented in 35 states and territories.

National projects  include the HHP website, so cial media, webinars, mobile apps, this newsletter, and development of uniqu e curricula for various audiences. 
Training Flip Chart, Louisiana HHP
The educational toolkit developed by HHP incorporates the 8 principles of healthy housi n g that are widely recognized across federal agencies and organizations.

HHP Highlights:
  • Using a variety of outreach methods, HHP had almost 80,000 direct contacts in 3 years, including 20,000+ educators and professionals trained to work directly with families on healthy homes issues.
  • Annual average of 250 home visits and 2,300 consultations by phone.
  • Exhibits at fairs and other venues reached 30,000 consumers yearly.
  • 17,000/year participanted in trainings and workshops.
  • Of 20,000 stakeholders, many were Extension educators, non-profit social service providers, health care and child care providers.
  • Social media and website (national and state specific) content had 206,000 visits/year. Some were from boosted postings in the aftermath of disasters (hurricanes, wildfires, floods.).
  • Indirect outreach through traditional media (newspaper, radio, and television) estimated to reach 7.9 million viewers.
    Healthy Homes Display, Tennessee HHP
As part of HHP, state land grant institution partners have engage d active, state healthy homes coalitions  of organizations to foster collaborations, with 3 50 members in 13 states. This newsletter is a resource to these coalitions a nd HHP educators.
State HHP activities were reported quarterly and impact assessments were conducted to estimate  adoption rates of  healthy homes strategies as a result of the program and associated family health improvements.

Michael Goldschmidt, National Director - Healthy Homes Partnership 
TopicOfMonthTopic of the Month: Asthma & IPM
Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for more than 23 million Americans, including an estimated 6 million children. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, asthma can be controlled
through medical treatment and m anagement of environmental triggers. (

60% of people with asthma have allergic asthma. Triggers for those with allergi c asthma include:
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites
  • Molds
  • Pet Dander
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Pollen
As the 2000 Institute of Medicine Report notes, dust mite allergens can cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks for those who are sensitized to this allergen.  NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) scientists, along with researchers from the HUD , conducted an extensive survey known as the National Survey of Lead Hazards and Allergens in Housing, which showed that 46% of homes had dust mite allergens high enough to produce allergic reactions, while nearly 25% of homes had allergen levels high enough to trigger asthma in genetically susceptible individuals. The survey also showed that nearly two-thirds of American homes have cockroach allergens. ( )

Dust Control

About two-thirds of the dust in a low-rise building is tracked from indoo rs. The dust can become airborne from people's activities and, in fact, is found at higher levels nearer to people than in the general room air. Most house dust contains known contaminants in the form of heavy metals, pesticides, and fungal spores as well as dust mites ; therefore controlling dust is a good idea.

Dust Mite Control Strategies:  
  • Keep relative humidity below 50%.
  • Washing clothing and bedding in every week will kill a significant percentage of mites.
  • Encase mattresses, pillows, and box springs in allergen-impermeable covers.
  • Freeze soft toys and small items.
  • If possible, replace carpets with hard surfaces such as hardwood or vinyl.
  • Remove draperies and upholstery.
  • Steam clean carpets and floor mats every 8 weeks.
  • Vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture every week.
Integrated Pest Management in Schools

Integrated Pest Management ( IPM) is a safer system of pest control that uses an "integrated" approach, rather than just using pesticides. Methods of pest control such as limiting access to food and water, baits, traps, low-toxicity products, and caulk are less toxic and should be used before spraying pesticides.

Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticide exposure. Pests such as cockroaches can cause asthma and other health problems. Given the sensitivity of children during years of rapid growth, and since children spend much of their time at school, it makes sense to err on the safe side and use only least-toxic methods for pest control.
The EPA and most states recommend IPM practices on school grounds. Some states require it. Once the initial work and cost of establishing an IPM program is done, it usually cost s less, and brings greater health benefits than blindly using pesticides. ( )
A new issue of IPM Insights is now available online! Visit The IPM Institute of N orth America f or more information.
SocialSnacksSocial Snacks

Here are short posting ideas on the topic of the month that you can use in your social media outreach to consumers. 


PLEASE FEED ME!    If you use social media for HH outreach, please send us your posts that produce big  reach  numbers  to share in a future newsletter.
#DidYouKnow  Anyone can get asthma - people of all ethnic groups, male and female, young and old, city and rural dwellers. Find about more about who is at risk at
Reduce triggers to reduce asthma meds!  Triggers are things that can cause asthma symptoms, an attack or make it worse.  For more information, view EPA Asthma Resources and Publications, or check out this video.

True/False Once you have asthma, it can be cured by a medical professional.
Answer: False! There is no cure for asthma. Once you have asthma, you will have the disease for the rest of your life. But with proper care, you can lead a healthy, productive, fully active life.

You can learn more about managing asthma by visiting
Version 1, Revision 4 of the Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications Now Available!

Download a copy of the updated Construction Specifications and fillable PDF checklist from the Indoor airPLUS Program Documents page. This document contains the revised Indoor airPLUS Version 1 (Rev. 04) Construction Specifications and verification checklist, as well as instructions for building and verifying Indoor airPLUS homes.

National Public Health Week is April 2-8
EPA's Indoor Environments Division supports the American Public Health Association's (APHA) Healthiest Nation 2030-Changing Our Future Together campaign during National Public Health Week, April 2-8. Each day, the campaign recognizes an issue that underlies poor health or disease risk.
Find Information About Daily Air Pollution
Visit AirNow to find out what the Air Quality Index (AQI) is in your hometown. Every day the AQI can tell you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, along with associated health effects that may be of concern.
GOT NEWS?  Send it  to us! Share any  news and resources of interest to other HHP partners!

Next Issue's Topics: Hazardous Household Products & Home Safety

The Entomology at the University of Kentucky has an in-depth, downloadable PDF available on their website about dust mites, as well as managing infestations and alleviating their symptoms.
Visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for up-to-date 
information on research projects regarding awareness, knowledge, preferences and behaviors related to asthma prevention, management and treatment.
The IPM Institute of North America has a list of resources that have been reviewed and selected as the best tools and curriculum for school IPM.
The HUD  Healthy Homes Basics mobile app  offers practical how-to guidance on how to have a safe and healthy home, right at your fingertips. The app offers introductory information and guidance for consumers by teaching the "Principles of a Healthy Home." For those users more familiar with healthy homes concepts, the app features detailed information by topic. It's available on Apple, iTunes, and Google Play app stores.
Everyone Deserves a Safe and Healthy Home consumer action guide is the updated and shortened HHP publication that replaces Help Yourself to a Healthy Home. For each HH subtopic is a brief description of the Hazard, Health Effects and Source along with a checklist of actions to take to protect health. The new 12-page format can be economically printed, and has a checklist that can be duplicated on a single sheet of paper for mass distribution. This resources can be used in conjunction with lesson plans available in the Healthy Homes toolkit.
Everyone Deserves a Safe and Healthy Home stakeholder guide is a 40-page publication designed for professionals that serve families through consultation or outreach. This guide can be used to educate, assess, advocate, train, and set standards and policy on healthy homes for their organizations. This resources can be used in conjunction with lesson plans available in the Healthy Homes toolkit.
The HUD website,, is a valuable source of information and links to upcoming healthy home events, news, resources, programs, popular topics and more -- including the Healthy Home Basics mobile app and educational videos.
The HUD Healthy Homes Disaster Recovery Toolkit is available online as a free PDF. Contents include links to recovery and response videos, the Rebuild Healthy Homes how-to guidebook, fact sheets for consumers, stakeholders and pros in English and Spanish, HUD contacts and more. 
NEHA 2018 AEC and HUD Healthy Homes Conference
 June 25-28, 2018 in Anaheim, CA. 
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) have joined forces on a  joint conference as the nexus for environmental health education, training, networking and career advancement.   Visit  in the coming months for registration details and additional agenda information.

2018 Association of Asthma Educators Annual Conference Assembling the Puzzle of Asthma Education and Treatment - July 20-22, 2018 in Phoenix, AZ.  The 2018 Annual Conference program will encompass a full spectrum of asthma-related topics from strategies for motivational interviewing, trigger recognition and home visitation programs, to biologics and genetics. Additional details can be found in the online AAE newsletter.

Housing Education and Research Association's (HERA) Annual Conference  Lessons from History: Revisiting the Past with a look to the FutureOctober 7-10 in Savannah, GA. HERA's annual international conference features presentations of peer-reviewed abstracts, posters and keynote speakers in an atmosphere that fosters intellectual growth and development.

Extension Disaster Education Network Annual Meeting - October 16-19, 2018  in College Station, TX. EDEN links Extension educators from across the U.S. and various disciplines, enabling them to use, share, and produce resources to reduce the impact of disasters. At the annual meeting, delegates share best practices, developing research, and showcase projects that have been completed throughout the year.

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Good Health Starts at Home  builds upon the Healthy Homes initiatives and partnership of the United States Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Healthy Homes and lead Hazard Control (HUD) that address housing-based health and safety risks. Its network of state coordinators have partnered with state agencies, medical professionals, schools, and community groups to educate families on home health hazards.

Healthy Homes Highlights is produced by LSU AgCenter's LaHouse Resource Center. Authors: Claudette Hanks Reichel, Professor and Extension Housing Specialist, and Haley Moore, LaHouse Program Assistant.