April 12th, 2018

Introducing NCHH’s State Healthy Housing Fact Sheets: EPA Region 4

by Sarah Goodwin

This is the fourth installment in a 10-part blog series. You may also be interested in reading about EPA Region 1, and Region 2, and Region 3.

Throughout 2018, we’re posting highlights of our state fact sheets by EPA region, one region per month. In April, we’re looking at EPA Region 4, which includes AlabamaFlorida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Highlights from these many states include:

  • Across six of the eight states (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee), 6,422 children tested with blood lead levels above 5 µg/dL in 2015.
  • The following areas in this region have average indoor radon tests above the EPA action level of 4 picocuries per liter (4 pCi/L) of air:
    • 15 counties in northern and western Alabama
    • 30 counties in Kentucky
    • eight counties in western North Carolina
    • two counties in South Carolina (Oconee and Greenville)
    • 32 counties in eastern and central Tennessee
  • There are over 800 deaths per year in Georgia due to radon-related lung cancer.
  • In 2015, unintentional falls among adults over 65 were responsible for 5,848 deaths in all eight states combined. Florida had the highest individual number at 2,603 deaths.
  • An average of 50 people die from carbon monoxide exposure in North Carolina each year (2011-2015). This is the highest average for this region; close behind are South Carolina at 47 and Florida at 40.
  • Some of the costs asthma has inflicted on this region include:
    • $1.1 billion from emergency department visits and hospitalizations in Florida (2012)
    • Over $192 million in billed charges, including 19,678 emergency department visits and 5,111 hospitalizations, in Kentucky (2014)
    • $139 million from hospitalization charges in North Carolina.
  • While the age of housing in this region is lower than in the previous regions we’ve covered, 35-52% of housing was still built before 1978 and therefore may contain lead paint.
  • Some of these states lack state-level protections for healthy housing; Alabama has no law regulating building mold standards, testing requirements, or contractor accreditation and certification, while Mississippi is without state statutes regulating carbon monoxide detectors, radon, and bed bugs.

Other NCHH Resources

  • NCHH’s 2013 State of Healthy Housing includes rankings for Charlotte, North Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; and Miami and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida.
  • Use this list of building code resources to identify building codes in your state and locality.

One More Thing…

By the way, this region is one of the most underrepresented in the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition, and we’re missing official members from South Carolina and Alabama entirely. Interested in joining? Learn more and sign up here.

NCHH’s state fact sheets will be updated annually with current information. For questions or comments, please email Laura Fudala at lfudala@nchh.org.


Sarah Goodwin, Policy Analyst, NCHHSarah 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.

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