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Pa. Daycare Centers and Head Start Staff to Be Trained to Keep Indoor Air Healthier for Children

Release Date: 11/5/2004
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today presented a grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Health to help train parents and childcare workers about the importance of good indoor air quality. The $41,958 grant will fund training for daycare centers, Head Start personnel, and parents about asthma management and the harmful effect of second hand smoke on children, especially children with asthma.

“EPA is a partner in the battle against asthma, committed to reducing asthma triggers in both indoor and outdoor air. Working together, we can give families the information they need to protect their health,” said Donald S. Welsh, mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

To provide this training the Pennsylvania Department of Health is collaborating with the Safe Kids Coalition, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Lung Association of Pennsylvania.

The main message for the training is to reduce children’s exposure to second hand smoke by keeping living areas and vehicles smoke-free. This is important for all children, and especially for children with asthma because tobacco smoke triggers asthma attacks. The training will also include information about indoor and outdoor air quality and its effect on children with asthma.

According to Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, in 2002, approximately 21 million children in this country live in homes where someone is smoking on a regular basis. Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the severity and frequency of asthma episodes.

Each year from 200,000 - 1,000,000 children with asthma experience aggravated symptoms due to second hand-smoke. Six million children suffer from asthma which is the leading chronic illness in children and the cause of 14 million missed school days in 2003.

This is the first children’s health grant that EPA has awarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. EPA is also working with the Pennsylvania. Department of Health to develop a statewide asthma action plan and asthma surveillance system to reduce the number of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and doctor’s visits.

For more information about reducing asthma triggers see EPA’s website