Tuesday, January 26, 2010

DC Environmental Health Collaborative Community Forum

There are thousands of reasons why Ward 1 residents, and especially parents, should be concerned about the myriad ways our environment negatively impacts the health of children.   Others, too, have a stake in the environment and how it affects health, given the high rates of asthma and other health problems experienced by the residents of Ward 1.   These health challenges limit work productivity, voluntarism, and the like.

Those who are concerned and even interested should plan on attending this community forum on Saturday, February 6 from 10:00 am - 1:30 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library located at 901 G Street NW.   The purpose of the meeting is to engage community stakeholders in discussions about local environmental health concerns.   All participants will work together to create an action agenda to address key issues of concern such as drinking water in schools, healthy homes, asthma, and lead poisoning.

Those who attend the meeting will be treated to a warm lunch; activities for children will be available.   Transportation to the event is available for those in need.   Additional information, including the process to RSVP is found in this flier.

Want to know more about how the environment affects health?   Consider that in 2004 nearly 7% of Ward 1 residents had been diagnosed with asthma (DOH fact sheet).   According to Rebecca Morley of the National Center for Healthy Housing, "asthma is epidemic in the District of Columbia: over 16,000 children, or 15.2%, were reported to have had asthma at some point in their childhood, the third highest rate in the nation (behind only Delaware and Hawaii)."   (Rebecca Morley, Executive Director, National Center for Healthy Housing)   Or consider that close to 90% of the city’s housing stock pre-dates 1978 and 50% of the total was built prior to 1950.   (Rebecca Morley, Executive Director, National Center for Healthy Housing)   This means that the chances of lead poisoning are greater than in newer, post-1978 homes.   The District of Columbia Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning reports that Wards 1, 2 and 5 are considered to be "high risk" Wards for childhood lead poisoning.

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