Asthma is an environmental disease characterized by chronic lung inflammation and episodes of airway constriction. Nationally, about 1 in 11 children have asthma, but in some low-income areas of New York City, the childhood asthma rate is 1 in 4. Indoor health hazards directly contribute to the high asthma prevalence in NYC, and the average person spends 90% of their time indoors. Indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor pollutant levels.
In 2016, WE ACT and members of the Coalition for Asthma Free Housing have created a prescription to address asthma and asthma disparities: healthy, affordable housing, called the Asthma-Free Housing Act.
The Asthma-Free Housing Act of 2016, Intro 385B, if passed, would:
- prioritize prevention measures in homes of susceptible persons – those with diagnosed asthma, COPD, or lung cancer;
- require landlords to inspect for Indoor Allergen Hazards and correct them and their causes using approved methods;
- require NYC Housing and Preservation Department (HPD) to inspect for Indoor Allergen Hazards and their causes, and issue appropriate violations;
- require HPD to correct violations for Indoor Allergen Hazards where Landlords fail to do so promptly;
create a system for physician referrals for housing inspections by the City for patients with asthma; and
codify safe and effective work practices for remediation of mold hazards.