RAMP Digest – November 17, 2009
Volume 1, Number 1
The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program (EJSG) supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The Program assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships to help them understand and address environmental and public health issues in their communities. The Request for Applications for FY2010 has been released, and emphasizes the need to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change in communities with environmental justice concerns. The EPA EJ Small Grants Program is a national program with the total funding available for awards under this solicitation at $1,000,000. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 40 grants in the amount of $25,000 each. For more information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted air pollution testing that revealed that cleaning supplies used in 13 key California school districts can cloud classroom air with more than 450 distinct toxic contaminants, including chemical agents linked to asthma and cancer. The 13 school districts included in the study were chosen for their geographic diversity and diversity of size. Several districts have already begun moving to green cleaners, while others have pilot programs underway at various stages. Most of the 450 chemicals identified have never been assessed for safety; six are identified with increasing the risk asthma, and eleven are known, probable or possible human carcinogens. To read more about this report, visit: http://www.ewg.org/schoolcleaningsupplies/pressrelease
Six California cities appear on the American Lung Association’s (ALA) list of the nation’s 10 most ozone-polluted cities, including the four most polluted. ALA finds that Los Angeles leads the list of ozone-heavy cities followed by Bakersfield, Visalia and Fresno, with Sacramento at No. 6 and El Centro at No. 10. California cities also appear prominently on the lists of those with high levels of particle pollution. Fresno, Bakersfield and Los Angeles hold the second, third and fourth places on the list of cities with the worst short-term particle pollution, with Pittsburgh topping the list. Sacramento is No. 7. Bakersfield is said to have the nation’s worst year-round particle pollution, with Los Angeles at No. 3, Visalia at No. 4, Hanford at No. 6, and Fresno No. 7. To read the full report, visit: http://www.lungusa.org/assets/documents/publications/state-of-the-air/state-of-the-air-report-2009.pdf
Research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that cholesterol may play a role in asthma. The team’s main goal was to test for an independent relationship between serum cholesterol concentrations and asthma prevalence, but it also wanted to test for a relationship between serum cholesterol and wheeze requiring medical attention, a strong indicator of poorly controlled asthma and other obstructive lung disease. Investigators concluded that serum total cholesterol (TC) and non high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) are inversely related to asthma and wheeze in a representative sample of the U.S. population. They noted that this finding in the overall population was chiefly driven by a marked relationship among Mexican Americans. For more information, please visit: http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(09)01169-5/abstract
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has renewed the contract to continue studying asthma in children living in lower-income, inner-city environments. This five-year, $56 million award will support the Inner-City Asthma Consortium (ICAC), a nationwide clinical trials network to evaluate promising new therapies to reduce asthma severity and prevent disease, and to perform basic research to understand how these therapies work. For more information about the study’s work to date and its future plans, please visit: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2009/ICACrenewal.htm
A consortium of New York based agencies conducted research to determine the efficacy of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Traditional pest control involves the use of scheduled applications of pesticides by professionals as well as pesticide use by residents. In contrast, integrated pest management (IPM) involves sanitation, building maintenance, and limited use of least toxic pesticides. Compared with controls, apartments receiving IPM had significantly lower counts of cockroaches at 3 months and greater success in reducing or sustaining low counts of cockroaches at both 3 and 6 months. IPM was associated with lower cockroach allergen levels in kitchens at 3 months and in beds and kitchens at 6 months. Pesticide use was reduced in IPM relative to control apartments. Residents of IPM apartments also rated building services more positively. To read the full report, please visit: http://www.ehponline.org/members/2009/0800149/0800149.html#resu
Children exposed to the World Trade Center dust cloud appear to have a higher risk of asthma in the wake of the 9/11 events. Baseline data for 3,100 children in the World Trade Center Health Registry show that being exposed to the dust cloud more than doubles the likelihood of having asthma compared with children in the Northeast in general, according to Polly Thomas, M.D., of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. Although other studies have identified asthma as a health problem in the wake of the attacks, none has compared the burden to the general population. According to the article, the findings have not yet been peer-reviewed and published, but the New York city health department recently released some of the data, collected in 2003 and 2004. For more information, visit: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Asthma/7526
California Breathing has posted a new fact sheet on their website californiabreathing.org. Entitled “Asthma Emergency Department (ED) Visits: Results from 2005-2007,” this fact sheet describes rates of asthma ED visits by age, sex, race/ethnicity, month of admission, and source of payment. These data update the ED data presented in the 2007 surveillance report, “The Burden of Asthma in California,” which is also available on the website.
Children’s Hospital Boston’s pediatric blog, Thrive, has published a story on children with asthma and the H1N1 vaccine. See http://childrenshospitalblog.org/should-my-asthmatic-child-get-the-h1n1-vaccine/ for reference information that may be of interest to providers, patients and family members about vaccine safety, precautions and other helpful resources on the web.
RAMP has released electronic, fill-able versions of their Asthma Action Plans for use in clinical settings. The Asthma Action Plans are downloadable in four versions – English, English/Spanish, English/Chinese, and English/Vietnamese. To access the Plans, visit http://www.rampasthma.org/info-resources/asthma-action-plans/.
Breathe California’s Clinical Asthma Collaborative will host a web conference on November 18th from 12:15-1:15pm. The webinar will be presented by Larry S. Posner, M.D., F.A.A.A.A.I., Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, UCSF and North Bay Allergy & Asthma Associates, Napa and Sonoma. Dr. Posner will discuss how asthma is diagnosed in children, common triggers in pediatric asthma, interventions for treating pediatric asthma (i.e. avoidance, pharmacotherapy and immunotherapy), and the principles of step therapy and reevaluation as dictated by the 2007 NHLBI guidelines. Web conference materials and call-in information will be sent to registered participants. There are 60 lines are available. Priority registration will be given to health care professionals serving Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. For more information, call or email Ashley Mevi at (650) 994-1903 ext 313; email@example.com.