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LOWELL - Asthma is a major and increasing problem, particularly in urban areas, and is just one reason to pay attention to the health of home environments.
The "Year of the Home" fair on Tuesday, June 10, sponsored by UMass Lowell's Center for Family, Work and Community (CFWC) and the City of Lowell Health Department, will draw attention to environmental issues in the home and to cultural differences in understanding what makes a healthy home.
The fair is one part of a major research project on healthy homes, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The project builds partnerships among the health professionals and public agencies that are involved in home visits.
"We think of home as a safe haven," says Dr. Stephanie Chalupka, UMass Lowell professor of nursing and a member of the research team. "The average American spends 90 percent of the time indoors." But radon, combustion fumes, formaldehyde from carpets and building materials, chemicals, and biological pollutants-all found in homes-have been implicated in respiratory ailments, childhood cancer and other health problems.
Children are at particular risk. Small children play on the floor where substances collect; they have high metabolic rates; and they put many things in their mouths.
The good news is that environmental disease is highly preventable, especially when health professionals develop cross-cultural approaches to working with community members. The fair will feature information about environmental health issues and the different ways in which ethnic groups use their homes and understand home health.
"Year of the Home" Fair Schedule
When: Tuesday, June 10, 3 to 7 p.m.
Where: Wannalancit MIL Conference Center
600 Suffolk Street, Lowell
3:00-Opening Ceremony and Proclamation
3:30-Panel Discussion on Healthy Homes
4:30-Recognition of Participating Agencies
5:00-Local Hero Awards
5:15-Ethnic Food Samplers
5:30-Panel Discussion on Healthy Homes