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American Lung Association grant to help local residents improve indoor air quality, fight asthma

by jmaloni
Wed, Jun 6th 2012 08:40 am

(readMedia) The American Lung Association of the Northeast has announced that it has been awarded nearly $20,000 in funding from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The funding will support the implementation of the master home environmentalist program in Western New York.

The MHE program uses a novel, volunteer-driven approach that empowers residents to reduce their exposure to indoor environmental pollutants.

The foundation of the MHE program is the collaboration between an MHE-trained volunteer and the resident that has a child with asthma. The MHE volunteer performs an integrated, no cost in-home assessment to evaluate the presence of pesticides, allergens, molds, tobacco smoke, lead and household chemicals that can negatively impact lung health, and provides recommendations to limit the families exposure.

"We're grateful that the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has chosen to support the Lung Association by helping us nurture and expand this program in Western New York" said Jeff Seyler, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. "By educating residents about indoor air quality and arming them the information they need to reduce asthma triggers in the home environment, we're helping to reduce the burden of asthma in our community."

Seyler noted that in New York state 1,482,650 adults (9.8 percent) and 434,404 children (10 percent) suffer from asthma, a chronic inflammation of the airways. Asthma breathing problems usually happen in "episodes" or attacks but the inflammation underlying asthma is continuous. It is one of the most common chronic disorders in childhood and can be life-threatening if not properly managed. Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15 and is a leading cause of school absenteeism.

"The mission of the Community Foundation is to improve lives in Western New York, and one way we do this is by supporting efforts to make our region's housing safer and healthier for children and families," said the Foundation's Cara Matteliano, vice president for programming. "We see great potential for the Lung Association's MHE program to accomplish this through their education about and removal of household asthma triggers."

The MHE program was established by the American Lung Association of Washington in 1992. The ALAW program is more than 700 volunteers strong, with more than 2,500 homes assessed to date and has been funded by 20 grants totaling $2 million. This innovative program to identify and eliminate indoor environmental pollutants has been recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which awarded the program the 2005 Children's Environmental Health Excellence Award.

The MHE program being offered in Western New York is the first MHE program being offered in New York.

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