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Introducing NCHH's State Healthy Housing Fact Sheets: EPA Region 4

This is the third installment in a 10-part blog series. You may also be interested in reading about EPA Region 1Region 2, and Region 3.

Throughout 2018, we’re posting highlights of our state fact sheets by EPA region, one region per month. In April, we’re looking at EPA Region 4, which includes Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Highlights from these many states include:

  • Across six of the eight states (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee), 6,422 children tested with blood lead levels above 5 µg/dL in 2015.
  • The following areas in this region have average indoor radon tests above the EPA action level of 4 picocuries per liter (4 pCi/L) of air:
    • 15 counties in northern and western Alabama,
    • 30 counties in Kentucky,
    • eight counties in western North Carolina,
    • two counties in South Carolina (Oconee and Greenville),
    • 32 counties in eastern and central Tennessee.
  • There are over 800 deaths per year in Georgia due to radon-related lung cancer.
  • In 2015, unintentional falls among adults over 65 were responsible for 5,848 deaths in all eight states combined. Florida had the highest individual number at 2,603 deaths.
  • An average of 50 people die from carbon monoxide exposure in North Carolina each year (2011-2015). This is the highest average for this region; close behind are South Carolina at 47 and Florida at 40.
  • Some of the costs asthma has inflicted on this region include:
    • $1.1 billion from emergency department visits and hospitalizations in Florida (2012);
    • Over $192 million in billed charges, including 19,678 emergency department visits and 5,111 hospitalizations, in Kentucky (2014);
    • $139 million from hospitalization charges in North Carolina.
  • While the age of housing in this region is lower than in the previous regions we’ve covered, 35-52% of housing was still built before 1978 and therefore may contain lead paint.
  • Some of these states lack state-level protections for healthy housing; Alabama has no law regulating building mold standards, testing requirements, or contractor accreditation and certification, while Mississippi is without state statutes regulating carbon monoxide detectors, radon, and bed bugs.

Other NCHH Resources

  • NCHH’s 2013 State of Healthy Housing includes rankings for Charlotte, North Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; and Miami and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida.
  • Use this list of building code resources to identify building codes in your state and locality.

One More Thing...

By the way, this region is one of the most underrepresented in the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition, and we’re missing official members from South Carolina and Alabama entirely. Interested in joining? Learn more and sign up here.

NCHH’s state fact sheets will be updated annually with current information. For questions or comments, please email Laura Fudala at

Sarah Goodwin joined NCHH as a Policy Analyst in June 2017. She previously served NCHH as a policy intern, helping to establish and run the Find It, Fix It, Fund It lead action drive and its workgroups. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government from American University.

The FY18 Omnibus: Thank You for Your Support of Healthy Housing Programs

Over the last two days, the House and Senate passed the FY18 omnibus bill, containing milestone funding increases for lead poisoning prevention and healthy homes. And this afternoon, the president signed off on the bill.

Thanks to the collective hard work of all of you with organizations and individuals who signed on to the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition’s (Coalition) letters, sent messages to your members of Congress, and brought up the issue in your communities, Congress acted to provide significant support to healthy homes programs across the agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that help Americans ensure safer home environments. Thanks to the House and Senate members who have championed this issue over the years and have done what they can to stabilize effective programs during the years of the Budget Control Act, which provided significant restraints to growth in agencies across the federal budget. But this newly passed appropriation meets the needs you’ve been highlighting and sets us on the path to better addressing the needs of our children and all Americans.

The FY18 omnibus appropriations bill includes:

  • Huge wins for lead poisoning prevention work at HUD and CDC
    • $230 million for HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, including $45 million for healthy homes programs. This is a number the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition has requested for years, based on the Presidential Task Force’s recommendation in 2000. It represents an $85 million increase over FY17.
    • $35 million for CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. This is an increase of $18 million over FY17, and it restores the program to the level of funding it had before its near-elimination in FY12.
  • Level funding for CDC’s National Asthma Control Program and National Environmental Health Tracking Network.
  • Level funding for healthy homes programs at EPA, counter to presidential requests for elimination.
  • Increases for other important programs, including Community Development Block Grants (a gain of $300 million), HOME Investment Partnerships (a gain of $412 million), the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (a gain of $250 million), and the Weatherization Assistance Program (a gain of $23 million). The Weatherization Assistance Program provides funding to low-income families and seniors who want to make home repairs that improve energy efficiency and health. The Building Technologies Office, which conducts research on indoor environmental quality, also received additional funding.

The Coalition has sent multiple letters to appropriators in Congress endorsing higher funding for these programs, the most recent of which was a sign-on letter to in November 2017. Many individual organizations, including NCHH, have continued to advocate for these numbers in their own communications with key members of Congress over the last month. Strong, effective advocacy has always been an important part of the healthy homes story, and today's good budgetary news is evidence of our collective impact.

So what's next? Stay tuned for a letter asking Congress to keep up its commitment in the 2019 budget!

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