September/October 2018
DirectorDirector's Update

Welcome to the autumn edition of the Healthy Homes Highlights newsletter. I would like to use my column this month to inform you about three important Healthy Homes Partnership (HHP) items:

First, we received 11 proposals from University Extension programs for the next year of HHP funding subgrants to states. We will be awarding a total of $182,000 to these states for statewide and national healthy homes activities. Congratulations to Alaska, Montana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Connecticut for submitting great proposals for next year's healthy homes programs.

Secondly, for the past month we've been using social media and other channels to get the word out about resources for disaster recovery to states hit hard by hurricanes and flooding. It's important for all of us to work together so that families in those states are aware of info resources on safe cleanup, resilient repairs and recovery efforts. One of the best resources for this information is the HUD guide "Rebuild Healthy Homes" authored by our own HHP colleague Dr. Claudette Reichel of LSU . You can download a copy of this guide here. There is also a free smartphone app available for the guide.

Later this month, HHP will work with the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes and USDA NIFA to deliver three webinars as part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. These webinars will be led by many national experts on Lead Poisoning Prevention and will provide you with technical advice and programs related to lead hazard mitigation. See the "Events" section below for information about these webinars.

Michael Goldschmidt, National Director - Healthy Homes Partnership
USDA NIFA HH Happenings
Greetings from Washington, DC, US Dept. of Agriculture, National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA).
NIFA Division of Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) staff conducted a 2-day training for FCS Leaders at the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Conference in San Antonio, TX. This afforded our team the opportunity to learn more about what is happening in each state and region. We also attended the NEAFCS Awards Banquet, where several Healthy Homes partners were recognized for excellence in programming. Keep up the great work that you are doing to make a difference for individuals and families!

The new Knowledge Area (KA): 807 Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery will be in the NIFA Plan of Work to be released later this year. There are areas of work that may include housing, especially relating to informing the public on handling disasters, whether with preparedness, mitigation or other. Stay tuned for more about the Plan of Work and KA.

Remember your impacts help us to illustrate to the American people how research, education and extension are improving lives. Partner with NIFA to highlight your discoveries and accomplishments! Follow @USDA_NIFA and Tweet us your stories using #NIFAIMPACTS or email

Keep up-to-date with funding opportunities from NIFA. All RFAs are slated to be released earlier in the federal fiscal year that began October 1, so stay abreast of deadlines. 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

HHP State Stories


The Mississippi State University Extension Service's Healthy Homes Initiative is in its 2nd year as a funded HHP! We've explored new ways to further support our work. In addition to HHP funding, we have leveraged partnerships with EPA and the MS Dept. of Health (MSDH) to secure funds and were able to obtain support of an Americorps VISTA to meet both our goals and theirs!
Our Initiative has more than 50 agents trained to deliver healthy homes programs. With the support of these agents, we solidified new partnerships with MSDH's Office of Childcare Licensure and the Division of Child Protective Services (CPS). Through them, we are able to reach those providing care for the youngest and most vulnerable Mississippians. A third dimension of the partnership with CPS is that an Extension agent return to school for a PhD, and engaged in both formative and summative evaluation for this project as part of her research. We are always pleased to find win-win's   like this!

Finally, we're happy to report that we earned the  overall Clean & Healthy Families & Communities Award and the regional Early Childcare Training Award, both from NEAFCS. We also were recognized
 by Association for Communication Excellence with both Outstanding Professional Skill and Gold Awards for a Marketing Communications Campaign with Budget under $1,000.

We would be glad to share insights from our work; see contact information at the MSU Healthy Homes Initiative website, , or by email:


HHP received 2nd place for the NEAFCS social media aw ard! The University of Georgia (UGA), the University of Connecticut (UCONN) and the Univ ersi ty of Missouri (MU) worked together to increase healthy homes information online.

Green cleaning worksh ops continue to draw interest and  prov ide a useful venue to teach about the principles of a healthy home. Extension Agents have offered train-the-trainer workshops, and as a follow-up event for the cancer prevention cooking schools they conduct in rural communities.  In June, we had the opportunity to share some of our  research
on green cleaning at the European Network for Housing Research in Uppsala, Sweden.

Healthy Environments for Child Care is a series of online learning modules for child care professionals. To date, two 1-hour modules have been posted on the extension online campus. Module 1 focuses on preventing lead poisoning in child care settings. In Module 2 educators learn how to prevent injuries to children in their care. The modules are free and students receive a certificate of completion after passing the knowledge test.

The Georgia National Fair takes place over 11 days in October. For the third ye ar the Rural Georgia Healthy Housing Advisory Board is partnering with the Georgia Healthy Homes Coalition to setup a healthy homes display for fair goers. Each day of the fair focuses on different healthy environments topics. Last year we distributed over 6,000  pieces of information, visited indirectly with 6,162 people, and engaged in conversations with 2,387 people. Several referrals were made for testing of well water, blood lead level, and radon.

Topic of the Month: Lead

Ongoing home maintenance is important to avoid a variety of healthy hazards. Some examples:
  • Cracks and gaps in foundation and around windows and doors can help prevent moisture and pest intrusion.
  • Stairs and exterior walkways can help prevent trips and falls.
But one of the most dangerous maintenance problems is deteriorating lead-based paint. It is extremely high on a list of maintenance tasks because its impact on health is so damaging. It is deteriorated paint, in particular, that creates the housing hazard. Although there are a variety of ways individuals can be poisoned by lead, deteriorated lead-based paint in dust is the primary source of lead poisoning.

We are most likely to find leaded paint outside older homes, and on windows, and doors. In addition to being a friction surface (with a lot of wear and tear), windows experience moisture due to variations between inside and outside temperatures; this causes paint failure.
Ted, the lead-safe certified renovator (surprise exhibit and selfie op in LaHouse Resource Center nursery closet)

Why avoid lead?
  • Reduced IQ
  • Learning disabilities
  • Impaired hearing
  • Reduced attention spans, behavior problems
  • Anemia
  • Kidney damage
  • Damage to central nervous system
  • Coma, convulsions, death
Lead-safe Certified Renovators
Since 2010, the EPA Repair, Renovation and Painting Rule (RRP) requires that any paid contractor who does work that could disturb paint on a pre-1978 home or child occupied facility must be a Lead-safe Certified firm. Certified firms must have at least one Lead-safe Certified Renovator on staff and on site during the job set-up and clean-up. 

Today, many firms remain uncertified, and many consumers are not aware of the rule, nor the danger of disturbing lead-based paint. It's as important as ever to educate homeowners and urge them to hire ONLY EPA Lead-safe certified firms. Certified firms can be found on

Lead Dust Standard

The national standards for lead dust in homes can be found at 40 CFR Section 765 from the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA):
  • 40 micrograms of lead/sq.ft on floors
  • 250 micrograms of lead/sq.ft on window sills
  • 400 micrograms of lead/sq.ft on window troughs
There are also standards for lead in soil.

A sugar packet contains one gram of sugar. If all of the sugar was lead, 40 micrograms/sq.ft would be equivalent to spreading the sugar packet over 25,000 square feet -- the size of one-third of a football field!  

The dust-lead level must be less than the applicable standard for the surface to pass clearance.
Clearance testing is required for jobs receiving HUD funding and as public housing clients request.
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.
Lead poisoning remains the #1 environmental threat to America's children.

For most children, their exposure to lead occurs in the home. Young children, those of ages 6 and under, are particularly susceptible to the effects of lead poisoning.

Lead is a naturally-occurring element found in soil, rocks, and water.

True! Lead is a heavy metal that has been used throughout human history as an additive for a wide variety of products, but it is TOXIC to humans and animals.

Got lead in your water? Run the water until it becomes cold. Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula. Not sure if you have lead? Make sure you have a healthy home - test your water!

October is Healthy Lung Month
The EPA Indoor Environments Division and the American Lung Association celebrate Healthy Lung Month and National Respiratory Care Week (October 21-27, 2018).  Learn more about how to improve the quality of your indoor air and protect your lung health by joining the conversation on social media!
October is Also Children's Health Month
The EPA is announcing the availability of nearly $30 million to support safe drinking water and cleaner air. They are making $20 million available for states and tribes to test for lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities while also announcing approximately $9 million in rebates to public school bus fleet owners to help them replace older school buses with cleaner, more modern vehicles. Check out the press release here.
HUD Awards $6.7 Million in Research Grants to Reduce Lead and Other Housing-Related Health Hazards
On October 2, HUD awarded $6.7 million to seven universities and public health organizations to improve methods for identifying and controlling residential health risks including lead-based paint, mold, secondhand tobacco smoke, and other indoor contaminants.  Read a complete project-by-project summary of the programs awarded grants here.
GOT NEWS?  Send it  to us! Share any  news and resources of interest to other HHP partners!

Next Issue's Topics: Carbon Monoxide and Radon

Check out the EPA's Lead page for general lead knowledge, renovation information, and up-to-date news regarding lead safety in the home.

At the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health site you'll find information about workplace lead and what workers and employers can do to lower exposure, including info for workers, employers, public health officials and researchers, as well as training and medical guidelines, publications, and related websites.

Keep up-to-date with HUD's lead safety guidelinesClick here to see a PDF with federal resources,  consumer safety tips, and lead poisoning and renovation information!
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. 

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.

2018 Southern Regional Conference - October 9-11 at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans.
Workshops on lead hazard control and healthy housing technical issues including changes to the HUD Lead Hazard Control Guidelines, Lead Safe Housing Rule and new Lead in Dust Clearance Standards as well as Lead Poisoning Prevention, Lead Hazard Control Issues, Healthy Housing and Indoor Environmental Health Issues.

EEBA High Performance Home Summit 2018  Building the Future: Solutions for Healthy, Resilient and Affordable High Performance Homes -- Oct. 16-18 in San Diego, CA
Sessions will present the latest in building science, combined with real-world application and problem-solving. Presentations will cover topics including:
Defining, building and selling a Healthy Home
Resilience in the Built Environment
Impact of Policy, Code and Title 24 on Design and Construction
Building the Home of the Future with Innovation, Cost Efficiencies and Sustainability
Water Efficiency & Conservation

Extension Disaster Education Network Annual Meeting  - October 16-19  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.

2018 Midwest Regional Conference - November 13 - 14 at the Drury Plaza Hotel in Indianapolis.
Two days of workshop and presentations dealing with Lead Poisoning Prevention, Lead Hazard Control Issues, Healthy Housing, and Healthy Buildings Issues Focusing on Indoor Air Quality.

Online Seminar: 
In celebration of LaHouse Resource Center's 10-year anniversary, they are offering special topic seminars for only $10! This will be a two-part seminar (held live and online) to provide answers and insights from industry experts about mini-splits, dehumidifiers and ventilation in humid climate, high performance homes -- for good indoor air quality, comfort and efficiency. Click on the title for more info and to register.


Get the Facts on Lead Poisoning - October 23, 2018 2:00 - 3:00pm EDT.
Speakers are Dr. Warren Friedman, HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes; Timothy Dignam, Chief (Acting), Lead Poison Prevention Section, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Michelle Price, Chief Lead, Heavy Metals and Inorganics Branch
Webinar ID: 222-661-691

Get Your Child Tested - October 24, 2018 2:00 - 3:00pm EDT.
The speakers are Jennifer Lowry, Director of MAPEHSU Chief, Section of Toxicology Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City; Mary Beth Hance, Senior Policy Advisor - Department of Health and Human Services; Sharunda Buchanan, Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services - National Center for Environmental Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Nsedu Obott Witherspoon, Executive Director of the Children's Environmental Health Network.

Get Your Home TestedOctober 25, 2018 2:00 - 3:00pm EDT.
The speakers are Bruce Haber, Director of the US HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Home's Program and Regulatory Division, OLHCHH; and Shannon Steinbauer, Director of Grants Services Division, of the US HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes.

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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.