January/February 2019
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In This Issue
 
State Story - Louisiana
Energy Improvements, 
Water & Waste Management
DirectorDirector's Update

Welcome to 2019 and the first newsletter this year. This month, we begin to celebrate 20 years of the Healthy Homes Partnership (HHP). For 2 decades, the mission of HHP is to link resources of the US Dept. of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) and state Land-Grant Universities with the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (HUD/OLHCHH). 

Our success includes planning, developing, and assessing an educational outreach program intended to eliminate or minimize housing deficiencies and risks associated with diseases and injuries. Our program targets both rural and urban settings and collectively, our curriculum and activities demonstrate the many intersections between housing and health. We provide a multifaceted approach to teach the principles of healthy homes to consumers, stakeholders, and health care professionals. 

In the next few months we'll be working on finishing our disaster preparedness and recovery Toolkit for Healthy Homes, an array of materials for Native American communities, and a new smartphone app. We'll also promote our 2018 projects: a new Middle School Healthy Homes curriculum, smartphone youth app, and new website, social media, and webinar content. 
 
HHP will partner with USDA-NIFA and HUD-OLHCHH in sponsoring National Healthy Homes Month in June. Finally, as part of our 20-year anniversary, we'll publish a special report documenting our programs and impacts since 1999.

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 is back and open for business! We realize the furlough affected some of your operations too. Thank you for your patience during the lapse in appropriations. If there is anything that needs my immediate attention, please do not hesitate to contact me. 
 
We are processing awards and payments, rescheduling canceled peer review panels, processing no-cost extensions and other grant actions, responding to grant and program inquiries, and reopening Requests for Applications (RFAs) that were closed during the lapse. Please sign up for NIFA updates on RFAs at  www.nifa.usda.gov  to be notified when they are reposted. Also, if you have not signed up for our weekly stakeholder update, register here.
 
Remember that your impacts help illustrate to the American people how research, education and extension improve lives. Partner with NIFA to highlight your discoveries and accomplishments! Follow @USDA_NIFA and Tweet us your stories using #NIFAIMPACTS or email impactstories@nifa.usda.gov. 

Please feel free to contact me at bsamuel@nifa.usda.gov with your ideas, comments, and feedback about Housing & Environmental Health programs.

Beverly Samuel, NIFA - Division of Family & Consumer Sciences (DFCS), National Program Leader, Housing & Environmental Health.   
HUD HH Happenings

HUD Releases New Lead Publication
HUD's Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes has just published the comprehensive Lead Paint Safety A Field Guide for Interim Controls in Painting and Home Maintenance.
 
Many older homes built before 1978 contain some lead. This 80-page guide covers simple work practices to protect children and workers. Sample content includes key stages of a job, surface prep, cleaning up, checklists, and an extensive resource section.
 
HUD collaborated with the U.S. EPA and CDC in this major update to the first edition. The publication contains unique illustrations depicting steps for proper maintenance. Doing work improperly can create a lot of paint chips and dust that may contain lead.
 
Potential users of this Guide are maintenance contractors, property managers and owners, building maintenance staff, homeowners hiring contractors or doing work on their own, local public housing agency staff, volunteers, and contractors working in federally assisted housing.
 
Hard copies of this publication are being sent to Michael Goldschmidt for distribution to the Healthy Homes Partners. Copies of the Guide will also be made available through the National Lead Information Center, at 1-800-424-5323. This is a toll free hotline and clearing house operated by EPA and HUD, serving the public and professionals about lead-based paint topics.

Dates For HUD Secretary's Award For Healthy Homes Announced
 
HUD and our partner, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), are pleased to announce the 5th HUD Secretary's Award for Healthy Homes. The detailed Announcement package will be posted on NEHA's and HUD's websites on February 13. The submission deadline for nominations will be March 29. Letters of Intent are requested by February 29, 2019.
 
This award recognizes excellence in making indoor environments healthier through healthy homes research, education, and program delivery, especially in low-to-moderate income communities. Award categories are:
  • Public Housing/Multifamily Housing
  • Policy and Education Innovation
  • Cross-Program Coordination
  • Research
Awards will be presented at NEHA's 2019 Annual Educational Conference (AEC) July 11, 2019 in Nashville, TN.  Please consider applying and letting other eligible organizations aware of this important competition.

For more information, please contact Kitt Rodkey at Clyde.K.Rodkey@HUD.gov.
State Story

Louisiana
In 2019, Louisiana HHP will continue this Healthy Homes Highlights newsletter for Extension educators and collaborators. The subscriber list has grown to 605! But we don't need to stop there, so keep sending us email lists of your new healthy homes educators, Advisory members, coalitions and collaborators so they can receive the newsletter directly.
La. also continues outreach through LaHouse Resource Center and social media, but there are two major new initiatives that will leverage it and utilize previously developed HHP and La. teaching materials:
  • La. Extension has again partnered with the La. Dept. of Health in a Lead-safe, Healthy Homes Education project, with funding to hire two near full-time regional Healthy Home Educators for targeted high-need regions of the state. They are doing community canvassing to engage healthcare and childcare providers as well as community collaboration and outreach to parents - with a goal of increasing the rate of lead screening of all young children. Also, Lead-safe Certified Renovator training classes will go on the road to increase the supply of RRP compliant contractors in those regions.
Reaching parents of young children where they go -- Boo at the Zoo.
  • LaHouse will partner with the La. Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit to provide technical assistance and training for 3 prototype resilient housing developments, to integrate resilience with health and energy efficiency in affordable housing using disaster mitigation funds. Two of the projects are resettlement initiatives - a coastal community being submerged by sea level rise, and an inland subdivision that has flooded 17 times.
La. Extension to help ensure resettlement development provides healthy, energy-efficient and resilient homes.
Topics of the Month: 
Energy Improvements + Water /Waste Management

Energy Improvements
The polar vortex may be on its way out, but as climate change accelerates, extreme weather will continue to occur. Following is a timely message to share with your clients/audiences:

Maintain equipment to prevent problems and unwanted costs. Keep the cooling, heating and ventilation (HVAC) system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy during summer and winter, so it's best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To help remember, plan the check-ups around the time changes in spring and fall.

Make sure a professional maintenance check-up includes the following:
  • Check programmable thermostat settings to be comfortable when people are at home yet save energy with auto setbacks when no one is home.
  • If ductwork or equipment is located outside the conditioned space (i.e. in a vented attic or crawl space), check for duct leaks and insulation flaws (missing or compressed). 
    • (It's worth the added cost to get the central system "leak tested" with specialized equipment to measure the amount of air leakage, find and seal all the leaks with mastic.)
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of a system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain. A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Check controls to ensure proper and safe operation. 
  • Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
Heating Specific:
  • Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
Actions to do yourself:
  • Inspect, clean, or change air filters monthly. A dirty filter increases energy costs and can damage equipment, leading to early failure.
  • To improve indoor air quality by capturing unhealthy fine particles (PM 2.5µm and smaller), use the highest-rated filter that your system fan and filter slot can accommodate.  
    • Filters with a MERV 13 rating capture 90% of particles in the 1-3 µm range, and 50% of particles in the 0.3-1 µm range (the really, really small stuff) -- so that is the EPA recommended rating level.
    • Most HVAC systems can accommodate a MERV 13 filter without creating equipment problems, provided that the filter is replaced frequently. 
    • To be certain a filter will work with your system, consult a professional HVAC technician to determine the most efficient filter that your system can use. An HVAC technician can also modify the system to use a higher efficiency filter.
Water & Waste Management
Private water well owners should know these facts to protect health:
  • Most state health departments only test public water systems, so private well owners are responsible for checking their own water supply.
  • Chemicals and harmful bacteria can enter the underground water supply at any time, so it's important to have your private water well inspected and the water tested at least once a year to protect your family.
Consider having your well water tested:
LA's consumer fact sheet.
  • if you notice a change in color, smell, or taste
  • if the whole family has stomach or other gastrointestinal illnesses at the same time that do not appear to be caused by seasonal or foodborne illness
  • when a pregnant woman, infant, or person with an impaired immune system lives in your home
  • if there is a chemical spill or similar event near your home/well
  • after a hurricane, flood, or heavy storm where the well might be in a flooded area
  • if other wells in your area have been contaminated
Who should inspect private wells?
  • Only licensed water well contractors should inspect a private well.
  • Work with public health sanitarians or engineers to find companies that are certified to test private well water for chemicals and harmful bacteria, for a fee. Find out if your state health dept. publishes a list of state certified labs.
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 Home fires occur more in winter than any other season. This is due in part to an increase in cooking and heating fires. Check out this link for winter fire safety outreach materials to learn and teach  others about winter home fire safety!
True/False:  You can use curtains to harness the sun's warmth.

True!  According to the US Dept. of Energy, about  76% of sunlight that falls on standard windows enters a room as toasty heat. Yet, 30% of that energy  gets lost through windows.  Learn more heating hacks for the cold weather here!
NewsNews
The Children's Environmental Health Network has released its 2018 annual report in a PDF format, available here.  Read about CEHN's accomplishments this past year including their activities to reduce childhood lead poisoning and fight rollbacks that threaten children's environmental health.

GOT NEWS?  Send it  to us! Share any  news and resources of interest to other HHP partners!

HUD's Lead Paint Safety Field Guide has been updated. This guide is a valuable tool that thousands of workers and contractors across the country have used as part of a national effort to eliminate childhood lead poisoning.  Sample content includes key stages of a job, surface prep, cleaning up, checklists, and an extensive resource section. It also includes unique illustrations depicting steps for proper maintenance.

The PDF can be accessed here or dial 1-800-424-5323 for hardcopies via the National Lead Information Center.
EPA announced the  Smoke Sense mobile application update is now live on Android and iOS devices for use by the public to protect their health from wildland fire smoke. 

If you have the previous version, be sure to update the app.  If you are a new user, visit the link above to download the app for free from Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
HUD's new Healthy Homes Youth App  is available to help middle-schoolers learn about potential household contaminants such as lead, mold, radon, or VOC's. This App helps kids learn about their home's indoor environment, focusing on actions they can take to have a healthy home. Downloadable from the App Store for customers with devices running iOS 11 or later, and macOS 10.13 or later.
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. 
UpcomingEventsUpcoming Events

The Lead Poisoning Prevention & Healthy Housing Conference -  February 27-28, 2019 in Washington, DC
The conference is being held in conjunction with the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition and features an outstanding educational program and optional half-day visits to Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional offices.  Click here to register.

AWWA/WEF Young Professionals Summit  - March 3-5, 2019 in Nashville, TN
The AWWA/WEF 2019 Young Professionals (YP) Summit is the premier water and wastewater industry workshop for young professionals.  The future of water theme creates an opportunity for discourse around challenges affecting our water systems locally and globally, as well as other critical water sector topics, such as workforce development and communicating the value of water to our communities. Click here to register.

The Utility Management Conference - March 5-8, 2019 in Nashville TN
Water and wastewater managers and professionals will gather to hear the latest approaches, practices, processes, techniques, case studies, and research in all aspects of utility management. Come prepared to share your experiences and learn from others in similar situations as we respond to the most pressing management issues of the day. Click here to register.

2019 Hot Water Forum -  March 11-13, 2019 in Nashville, TN
At the 2019 Hot Water Forum, presented by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE), you will hear from experts on the latest technologies and techniques to improve how we make, distribute, and use hot water. In addition to improving water heating efficiency, these new tools can help us respond to the evolving energy paradigm that includes renewable energy and energy storage Click here to register.

  NEHA 2019 Annual Educational Conference (AEC) & ExhibitionJuly 9-12, 2019 in Nashville, TN
The National Environmental Health Assoc. brings together professionals to learn and discuss current and emerging environmental health topics and issues. Discover how the local voices of agencies, industries, and levels of government provide unique perspectives and how they fit into the universal language of environmental health. Learn how these voices ensure the safety of the public and environment, and how they contribute to the advancement of the environmental health profession. Click here to register.

EEBA High Performance Home Summit - October 1-3, 2019 in Denver, CO
Building the Future: Solutions for Healthy, Resilient and Affordable High-Performance Homes is the theme of this year's Energy & Environmental Building Alliance summit.  Sessions will present the latest in building science, combined with real-world application and problem-solving. Presentations will cover topics of special interest including:
  • Defining, building and selling a Healthy Home
  • Resilience in the Built Environment
  • Building the Home of the Future with Innovation, Cost Efficiencies and Sustainability
  • Water Efficiency & Conservation

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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.