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EPA Gives $150,000 Grant to Erie County for Asthma Education

Release Date: 03/17/2003
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(#03021) New York, NY -- Although there is no known cure for asthma, children with the disease can lessen its impact by reducing their exposure to substances in indoor air that can trigger an asthmatic attack. To help in the fight against asthma, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded a $150,000 grant to the Erie County Department of Health to teach asthmatic children and their families about asthma triggers and how to reduce their presence in the home.

"About 15 million people in the U.S. are affected by asthma," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane Kenny. "But the real tragedy is the effect asthma has on children who are regularly left gasping for breath. We want to eliminate asthma triggers so every child with asthma in Erie County can live a better life with fewer asthma attacks, days out from school and emergency room visits."

The grant goes to the Division of Environmental Health Services of the Erie County Department of Health for a pilot project called Erie County In-Home Asthma Literacy Education (INHALE). The division will launch a county-wide outreach effort to provide in-home asthma education to up to 200 children with asthma and their families.

INHALE staff will help families identify and reduce indoor asthma triggers such as second-hand smoke, dust mites, cockroaches, mold and pet dander. Program participants will also participate in personalized asthma management classes.

This grant complements the Region's ongoing efforts to address the asthma issue in New Jersey, New York State, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. EPA awarded a grant to the New York-based Clinical Directors' Network to educate families with asthmatics aboutenvironment triggers and mitigation through a clinical setting. Preliminary data from the group's work in Puerto Rico shows that attention to environmental trigger management can lead to reduced hospitalizations and school absenteeism. Data for New York and New Jersey is still being analyzed, but the agency expects similar findings. This effort, coupled with the Erie County work, will strengthen EPA's knowledge of the effectiveness of environmental trigger management in reducing the impacts of asthma.

EPA started this competitive grant program in 2000 to ensure that asthma is managed comprehensively; it includes both medical management and controlling indoor environmental triggers. Erie County is one of two organizations to receive funding from EPA this year for this program. Health Choice Network in Miami, Florida, is the other recipient.