Introducing NCHH’s State Healthy Housing Fact Sheets: EPA Region 9
by Sarah Goodwin
Throughout 2018, we’ve shared highlights of our state fact sheets by EPA region, one region per month. In September, we’re looking at the penultimate EPA Region 9, which includes Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada.
With the end of this blog series approaching, it’s worth taking some time to talk about the impact the fact sheets have had. We’ve discussed why NCHH created the fact sheets and how we wanted them to be both comparable and unique, but we haven’t talked about how they’ve been used.
So what have we learned from a year with the fact sheets? Well, we’ve heard some great ideas from many of you about how we can make the fact sheets more detailed in the future, received updates that have informed us of better state resources, overlooked issues, and, in one exciting case, a new grant going into a state. (Thanks to our friends in Georgia, Idaho, and Maine for your suggestions!) We always welcome additional comments from those of you working in these states.
We’ve also sent the fact sheets to meetings with members of Congress and have been pleased that they’ve done what they were meant to do: streamline our state resources into one eye-catching document, making talking to congressional staff that much easier. It’s certainly easier on us than the multiple pages we used to carry with us, as past Hill Day participants may remember!
But perhaps most importantly, the state fact sheets have simply helped us open dialogues. I hear from staff who work our tables at conferences that the fact sheets are a popular handout and an easy entrance into conversations with those in states where we haven’t had much contact. My own conversations with others about the data we’ve collected have informed me about the many other great state-specific resources that are out there.
We’ve mentioned before that we’ll be updating the fact sheets this fall with new information, but bearing in mind the many benefits of this first year, I wanted to reiterate how glad I am that we are able to continue working with this data, offering the fact sheets to the healthy housing community, and engaging in these conversations. And if you stick around for the final blog post next month, maybe there will be a preview of what’s to come for next year…!
Noted facts from this region include:
- Of the four states in Region 9, only Arizona has whole-state, long-standing funding from the CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. California is only funded in Los Angeles County; Hawaii and Nevada were only funded in 2017 as a result of supplemental appropriations. As a result, the available blood testing data for each of these three states is limited1:
- In 2015, 525 Arizonan children tested had an elevated blood lead level (5 µg/dL or more).
- In 2013, 9,408 Californian children tested had a blood lead level of 4.5 µg/dL or more; 1,288 had blood lead levels of 9.5 µg/dL or more.
- Between 2011 and 2015, over 1,600 Hawaiian children tested with elevated blood lead levels.
- In 2010, 209 Nevadan children tested had an elevated blood lead level.
- California has the largest older adult population in Region 9 (4.7 million people over 65); in Hawaii, the share of the population over 60 is expected to increase by 38% between 2010 and 2040.
- While all four states have adult asthma prevalence rates of between 8% and 11%, Hawaii is an outlier with 16% of children having current asthma. This is higher than any other state in the nation.
- In 2014, there were more than 27,000 emergency department and hospital discharges due to asthma in Arizona; in 2015, there were over 191,000 emergency department visits due to asthma in California alone.
- Nine of Nevada’s 16 counties are predicted to have indoor radon levels above the EPA action level. One in 14 Arizonan homes are similarly predicted to contain radon above the action level.
- California and Hawaii have the oldest housing stock in Region 9, with 61% and 55% of homes built before 1978, respectively.
Other NCHH Resources
- Organizations in Hawaii and California were two of 10 recipients of NCHH’s Healthy Homes Workforce Development Mini-Grants, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, earlier this year.
- In partnership with the American Public Health Association (APHA), NCHH published a series of case studies on healthcare financing and healthy homes. Case Study 1 was about Medicaid reimbursement for home-based asthma services in California.
- The Advancing Safe and Healthy Homes Initiative (ASHHI), an NCHH technical assistance project conceived and supported by the Kresge Foundation, produced two “From the Front Lines” stories about healthy housing hazards and initiatives in South Los Angeles and Alameda County, California.
- Use this list of building code resources to identify building codes in your state and locality.
NCHH’s state fact sheets will be updated annually with current information. For questions or comments, please email Laura Fudala at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 The new funding for Hawaii and Nevada means, presumably, those states will start reporting to CDC, but CDC data is typically available two years after the fact. Therefore, our 2018 fact sheets will be updated to include 2016 CDC blood lead levels.
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 work groups. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government from American University.