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Eek residents with new water service received added benefit of home maintenance education through ANTHC program collaboration

November 12, 2018

The average person spends approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where their health can be affected by the environment around them. Moisture control and ventilation are two important aspects of maintaining healthy home air quality. When piped water is first introduced to a home, additional moisture build-up occurs, which could lead to mold growth, infrastructure damage and respiratory illnesses. In September, the ANTHC Tribal Air Quality and Healthy Homes Program collaborated with an ANTHC water service construction project in Eek to provide air quality and healthy homes services to complement the water and sewer hookup work. Teamwork between the two programs enhanced both services provided with two initiatives. First, the Air Quality and Healthy Homes Program conducted home assessments and provided education addressing the new air quality issues that may arise with the addition of running water and sanitation piping. Home assessments included diagnosing moisture issues, ventilation misuse, and other environmental hazards present in homes linked to health impacts. Second, was outreach to high school students on career and educational opportunities through the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. ANTHC Air Quality and Healthy Homes staff traveled to Eek and met with ANTHC Environmental Health and Engineering staff to begin the home assessments and education for more than 100 homes. Assessments began with a visual inspection of homes and their ventilation systems followed by a brief healthy homes questionnaire. Residents then received home maintenance instructions and an Air Matters Toolkit containing items that would help them improve their indoor environment and address indoor air quality concerns. The partnership across ANTHC programs provides a more comprehensive approach serving the people we work with. Not only has this community benefitted from access to running water and sanitation, but now have the education and tools on how to mitigate the moisture issues that comes with the addition of running water. Additionally, residents also gained the knowledge and tools on how to keep their homes healthy, which benefits the residents’ health and their infrastructure. This project has shown the importance of teamwork throughout the Consortium all while bringing us closer to ANTHC’s vision that Alaska Native people are the healthiest people in the world.

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