Superstorm Sandy Recovery
Healthy Homes & Lead Poisoning Prevention (2014-2015)
Hurricane Sandy was the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. It reached more than 1,000 miles in diameter and affected states from Florida to Maine. The cost of the storm has exceeded $70 billion, more than half of that attributed to New Jersey, one of the states hardest hit by the storm.
Massive flooding in parts of New Jersey transported everything from sewage to petroleum products to toxic chemicals, all of which pose long-term health threats to the state’s residents. The most immediate and significant threats identified by New Jersey’s public health professionals include lead poisoning and mold growth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death. Indoor exposure to mold has been linked to upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and an exacerbation of symptoms in people with asthma. Exposure to mold early in life has also been linked to the development of asthma in some children.
In an effort to ensure that these, and other, post-Sandy health issues are recognized and addressed by New Jersey’s health care professionals, the New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (NJAAP) will administer the Superstorm Sandy Recovery Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Initiative, a program funded through the New Jersey Department of Health.
NJAAP will implement the above outreach strategy in collaboration with the three Regional Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Coalitions in the nine (9) most impacted counties in the state: Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Union, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May. NJAAP will also distribute educational materials identified, secured, and printed by Isles, Inc., a Trenton-based non-profit community development agency, on behalf of the Initiative.
The goal of the Healthy Homes program is to educate primary care practices in the SuperStorm Sandy affected counties on strategies to address exposure to lead and other housing-based hazards that may impact the health of children and pregnant women.
NJAAP will develop an education outreach strategy that utilizes primary care providers as reliable sources of recovery information to prevent exposure to lead and other housing- based hazards.
The outreach strategy will consist of the following elements:
a) Webinar to introduce the problem of home-based lead poisoning to physicians. This webinar, which will offer CME units, will assist physicians in making the connection between clinical office findings of their patients and contributing housing conditions;
b) Face-to-face training for primary care providers in the 9 affected counties
c) Distribution of resource toolkit for providers to include materials on:
Lead screening and care management
Asthma care management (including asthma control test and asthma action plan)
Healthy Homes materials for families
EPIC - Lead Poisoning Prevention (2007)
During 2007, seven pediatric practices in Monmouth and Ocean counties participated in
the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (EPIC - Lead). The goal of the program was to educate the health care teams at
pediatric practices about the high rate of childhood lead poisoning in
New Jersey and the potentially serious effects of elevated blood lead
levels on normal growth and development. To learn more about the program and the educational outcomes, click here.