The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the funding of eight grants which will be awarded to U.S.-based organizations as a way of promoting public health through the reduction the exposure to indoor pollutants such as radon, as well as other environmental factors in homes, schools, offices and public buildings that may trigger lung diseases like asthma. With a total of $4.5 million in grants provided, the EPA is particularly focusing this new funding on supporting low-income, minority and tribal communities.
The “National Indoor Environments Program: Reducing Public Exposure to Indoor Pollutants” will establish three-year cooperative agreements with the institutions, with the main purpose of preventing future deaths due to lung cancer through the reduction of exposure to radon and mitigating the current risks that lead to asthma attacks and visits to the hospital through the improvement of infrastructures. In addition, the grants also seek to address other poor health consequences by improving the quality of indoor air and promoting best practices and policies.
“Partnering with these leading organizations will increase national awareness on the importance of healthy indoor air quality in our changing climate and will empower communities to implement public health projects locally,” explained the acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, Janet McCabe. “With these agreements, EPA advances our commitment to communities by providing financial and technical assistance so they can take action to prevent lung cancer, asthma episodes and other respiratory diseases.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s initiative is based on the knowledge that the American population spends up to 90 percent of their time inside closed doors, which means that having indoor air quality is an important public health issue. In addition, radon represents the second cause of development of lung cancer in the country, and asthma strikes more than 25 million people — 7 million of them being children. In both cases, poor and minority populations are believed to be disproportionally affected by these indoor air quality issues.
The institutions awarded with the “National Indoor Environments Program: Reducing Public Exposure to Indoor Pollutants” cooperative agreements are the American Lung Association, the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, in Springfield, Illinois, the America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, the Environmental Law Institute, the Kansas State University, in Manhattan, Kansas, the National Center for Healthy Housing, and the Public Health Institute, of Oakland, California.