Survey to pinpoint indoor health hazards

Public input sought on health and housing conditions in Linn County

March 31, 2014 | 10:31 pm

CEDAR RAPIDS — A first-of-its-kind survey will help Linn County Public Health target efforts on indoor hazards such as radon, mold, cockroaches, bedbugs and other pests.

“We’re looking at everything that can be impacting the family, so we can offer a more holistic approach,” said Ruby Perin, Healthy Homes branch manager for the health department. “We want to get a snapshot picture of what’s going on in our community.”

The online survey, developed by the Linn County Lead and Healthy Homes Coalition, is available through December. Cedar Rapids residents choose their zones of residence from a map; those in the rest of Linn County enter their ZIP codes as their zones. Survey takers remain anonymous.

Perin said the zones can help pinpoint areas where rodents or lead paint, for example, may be issues. Asthma and allergy triggers are other areas of concern.

Perin said more than $54 billion is spent annually in the United States on environmentally contributed childhood diseases alone. Costs for conditions such as lead poisoning are ongoing, in the form of special education costs for learning disabilities that stem from lead exposure.

Preventing those issues is more cost-effective than treating the resulting conditions, Perin said.

“There is a correlation between health and housing,” she said, noting that people spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors and about 50 percent of their time in their homes.

Mark Davis, of coalition member Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, said feedback from the survey is important to improve understanding of housing issues in the community.

The survey to assess housing-related health conditions of Linn County residents is available at www.lchh.com. Questions about the survey can be directed to Linn County Public Health, Healthy Homes Branch at (319) 892-6000. Neighborhood associations and other groups can request a presentation about the survey for their organization.

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