Introducing NCHH’s State Healthy Housing Fact Sheets: EPA Region 3
by Sarah Goodwin
How do you decide how to advocate for the programs and issues you represent? What stories and statistics do you elevate, and how do you describe what we all know are nuanced topics and problems in an understandable and engaging way? What about when you’re facing a tight time limit, like a 15-minute meeting with a congressional office? These questions should be familiar to those of you who have worked with us in the past on hill days and in district visits, and they help guide our policy team here in Columbia.
One way we’re answering these questions is in the creation of 53 state healthy housing fact sheets, covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. as a whole. For each state, we highlighted eight healthy housing statistics, with covered topics including asthma prevalence and financial burden, childhood lead poisoning numbers and age of housing, radon levels, carbon monoxide fatalities, and unintentional falls among older adults. The facts illustrate the specific needs of each state, while a list of 11 programs at CDC, HUD, and EPA that may be funding your state places these needs in a federal context. Most information on the fact sheets was found from federal or state governments, and each fact is hyperlinked back to the source material.
EPA Region 3
Throughout 2018, we’re posting highlights of our state fact sheets by EPA region, one region per month. In March, we’re on EPA Region 3, which includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland (home of NCHH!), Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
- Among these states, asthma is responsible for:
- $200 million in total costs per year (Delaware);
- 8,000 emergency department visits among adults in one year (DC, 2011);
- 45,500 emergency department visits and over 7,000 hospitalizations, costing $95.8 million and $61.1 million, respectively, in one year (Maryland, 2014);
- Medical costs totaling over $1.9 billion, including over 18,000 hospitalizations, in one year (Pennsylvania, 2013);
- 2,785 hospitalizations costing $31 million in one year (West Virginia, 2011);
- 7,582 hospitalizations costing over $156.5 million in one year (Virginia, 2013).
- At 75, Pennsylvania had the highest average number of deaths per year from carbon monoxide in the 2011-2015 period of any state. This number was 10 in Maryland, eight in Virginia, and six in West Virginia.
- 81% of DC homes were built before 1978, and 37% before 1940. This is one of the highest percentages recorded across all our fact sheets, and has led the District to pursue a 100% lead screening rate for children ages 1 and 2.
- In 2015, 3,143 children in Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia tested with blood lead levels above 5 µg/dL. In 2016 in Virginia, this number was 793; in 2014 in Pennsylvania alone, it was 11,983.
- Between Delaware, DC, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, unintentional falls were responsible for 2,310 deaths of adults over 65 in 2015. In West Virginia, this number was 243 in 2014.
- High radon risk areas in this region include central and western Virginia, eastern West Virginia, central Maryland, and New Castle County, Delaware. In Pennsylvania, 40% of homes tested for radon have been above the EPA action level.
- Pennsylvania is the only state in this region to have received money from all of the programs we track on the top half of these sheets since 2015.
Other NCHH Resources
- The Health Impact Project’s 10 Policies to Prevent and Respond to Childhood Lead Exposure report features case studies into lead poisoning prevention from DC and Maryland. One of the Lead Poisoning Awareness Community Mini-Grants, facilitated by NCHH in conjunction with the report, was awarded to the Department of Energy and Environment in DC.
- NCHH’s 2013 State of Healthy Housing includes rankings for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD; and Washington, DC.
- Use this list of building code resources to identify building codes in your state and locality.
- National organizations located in the DMV area may be interested in our appropriations requests.
Sarah Goodwin joined NCHH as a Policy Analyst in June 2017. She previously served NCHH as a policy intern, helping to establish and run the Find It, Fix It, Fund It lead action drive and its workgroups. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government from American University.