Air pollutants in low-income housing, child-care centers

July 01, 2002

ITHACA, N.Y. -- In areas prone to high radon levels, homes occupied by limited-resource households have significantly higher levels of radon than those occupied by higher income households, and some child-care centers have unsafe levels of radon, lead and mold, according to a new study at Cornell University.

"We found levels of pollutants in homes and child-care facilities that we should be concerned about," says Joseph Laquatra, associate professor of design and environmental analysis in the New York State College of Human Ecology at Cornell. "Even low levels of exposure to some of these pollutants is dangerous, and if you have a child who lives in a home with high radon, lead and mold levels and then spends the day being exposed to those same pollutants in a child-care facility, that child may be at significantly higher risk for lead poisoning, cancer, asthma attacks and allergies."

Laquatra, who conducted the study with colleagues Lorraine Maxwell and Mark Pierce, both in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis with Laquatra at Cornell, will report these findings at the Ninth Annual International Conference on Indoor Air and Climate in Monterey, Calif., July 2.

The indoor environmental experts tested indoor air pollution levels in a representative sample of 328 houses and 75 child-care facilities in six nonmetropolitan counties (Chenango, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Wyoming and Hamilton) in New York state.

They also found that the homes of lower income residents had higher levels of carbon monoxide, probably because 60 percent of the homes in the study had no functioning kitchen exhaust fan, the researchers said. In addition, 16 percent of the homes in the study had asbestos problems, and 10 percent had basement mold.

"Limited-resource households have disproportionate exposure to radon and other indoor air pollutants, most likely because of lower quality housing and housing deficiencies that create pollutant pathways, such as foundation cracks and dirt basement floors, as well as chipped paint, friable asbestos and leaking combustion equipment," Laquatra says.

"Lead poisoning in children leads to lowered intelligence and behavioral problems. Mold is a trigger for allergies and asthma, both of which lead to school and work absences, productivity losses and increased health costs," Laquatra says. Exposures to asbestos, carbon monoxide and radon can lead to early death.

"Health officials and policy-makers agree that indoor air pollutants pose serious health risks, and they expend considerable resources to raise public awareness of these risks. But for low-income households, resources for pollutant abatement are negligible, which generates a dilemma for public policy," Laquatra says.

A follow-up study at Cornell is examining the effectiveness of teaching low-income household members practical management strategies to minimize their risks of exposure to indoor air pollutants.
The study was supported, in part, by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Hatch Grant.

Related World Wide Web sites:
The following sites provide additional information on this news release.

o Joe Laquatra:

o Lorraine Maxwell:

o Mark Pierce:

Cornell University

Related Behavioral Problems Articles from Brightsurf:

Who Could Benefit From Exercise and Behavioral Treatment?
Aerobic exercise clearly benefits young adults with major depression, and a Rutgers-led study suggests it may be possible to predict those who would benefit from behavioral therapy with exercise.

GI symptoms linked to behavioral problems in children, especially those with autism
A new UC Davis Health study found that common gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating are linked to troubling sleep problems, self-harm and physical complaints in preschool children.

Medicinal cannabis may reduce behavioral problems in kids with intellectual disabilities
Cannabidiol, a type of medicinal cannabis, may reduce severe behavioural problems in children and adolescents with an intellectual disability a new study has found.

Poor sleep in infancy linked to behavioral and emotional problems in toddlers
Disrupted and poor quality sleep in the earliest months of a child's life can be an indicator of depression, anxiety and behavioral problems among toddlers, according to a new study.

Maternal obesity linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in children, NIH study suggests
Maternal obesity may increase a child's risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to an analysis by researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Artificial intelligence as behavioral analyst
Computer algorithms disassemble prey capture behavior of zebrafish into its components.

Behavioral sciences in the promotion of oral health
The importance and value of behavioral sciences in dentistry has long been recognized and over time behavioral sciences have expanded our understanding of oral health beyond 'disease' to a broader biopsychosocial concept of oral health.

Prenatal exposure to pollution linked to brain changes related to behavioral problems
A new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a center supported by 'la Caixa', has found a link between air pollution and changes in the corpus callosum, a region of the brain associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Epilepsy drugs during pregnancy linked with later childhood behavioral problems
A new Epilepsia study has uncovered an increased risk of behavioral problems in children of mothers with epilepsy who took common antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy.

Children who nap are happier, excel academically, and have fewer behavioral problems
Children who nap 30 to 60 minutes midday at least three times a week are happier, have more self-control and grit, and showcase fewer behavioral problems, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Irvine.

Read More: Behavioral Problems News and Behavioral Problems Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to