April 30, 2012 6:35:52 PM by
Recently, five lives were lost in a tragedy involving carbon monoxide poisoning in Oxon Hill, MD. What killed them? It was carbon monoxide (CO) that leaked into the house from rusted and separated exhaust pipes on a natural gas furnace. According to the Washington Post, CO levels of between 140 parts per million to as high as 560 parts per million were found in the home. To put that number in perspective, 0 to 5 parts per million are considered “normal” and it takes only 30 parts per million to be fatal over time.
March 20, 2012 8:00:04 PM by
While lead poisoning is something my son Sean will live with for the rest of his life, the outcome could have been much worse had the local and state health departments not had the resources to help us. Without federal funding for both of these agencies, Sean would never have been tested for lead by a WIC nurse. Our home would not have been tested for lead-based paint in time to save us from an environmental hazard. There would not have been any nurse-related check ups and blood work schedules in place. We would not have been directed to AEA 267 to oversee my son’s education.
To put it simply, we might never have known that Sean was lead poisoned. Or worse, we might have lost him. We will forever be thankful to Mike Prideaux, the Black Hawk County Health Department Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and Rita Gergely, Iowa Department of Public Health who have been a huge part of our lives over these past nine years.
March 18, 2012 7:18:25 PM by
My family was coming to town and I didn’t have time to clean the house so I hired a cleaning crew using a “groupon” that I bought online. A crew showed up while I was getting ready for work and I caught a whiff of ammonia and other chemicals. I decided to intervene and let them know about my preference for greener products. I was prepared for some eye-rolling, but was pleasantly surprised when the crew happily agreed to swap their standard chemicals for vinegar. They told me that vinegar is actually preferred for wood floors since it doesn’t leave a build-up like chemical products.
March 13, 2012 7:32:35 PM by
Nine years ago this coming June, our whole world changed. That summer, the company that my husband worked for closed it’s doors without any notice. Since my husband was a contractor, we did not qualify for unemployment. We went on WIC for one month just to help out during this time. During our meeting with the WIC nurses, they did a routine finger stick on both of my sons for lead levels. The next week, I received a call from Mike Prideaux of the Black Hawk County Health Department, telling me that my three year old son had lead poisoning. Sean’s blood lead level was 24—over twice the allowed level—and subsequently he needed to have a venous blood test to confirm it.
A few days later, I received another alarming phone call from the health department. Sean’s venous blood lead level was not 24 as the finger stick had shown, but was actually 40 – four times the allowed limit at that time! Sean had to start having routine blood work until he reached a blood lead level under 10 in back to back tests. I thought this might only take a few months, but little did I know it would take a total of four years.
December 19, 2011 12:08:00 AM by
Dr. Megan Sandel
A recent op-ed highlighted the importance of partnerships between health care and housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Assistant Secretary, Raphael Bostic and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey state that “housing policy is health policy” and “preventing disease is cheaper than treating illness.” We couldn’t agree more.