A Healthy Alexandria Starts at Home
The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) believes that all Alexandrians deserve a healthy and safe home. Unfortunately, many residents live in conditions that actively harm their well-being. Mold and pest issues can make respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) worse. This is particularly important now as someone with these conditions could have a more serious case of COVID-19 if they get sick. AHD has created the Alexandria Air Cleaning Evaluation for Healthier Homes (ACE Healthy Homes Project) as a pilot study for residents with breathing issues like asthma and COPD to see if changing home conditions can improve their health. This effort can find solutions for better health today and build resilience against future pandemics.
The pilot study is a collaboration between Alexandria Health Department and Inova Health System. AHD and Inova staff will work with pilot participants to measure the air quality within their home using an air quality monitor. Each home will also receive a high-quality portable air filter and resources such as cleaning supplies and education about the best methods to deal with specific home conditions. Participants complete a personal health and home assessment at the beginning and end of the study. These tools will measure any changes to the participant’s health as well as the air quality within their home. The study will begin in March and will last for 6 months.
How do we know this is needed in Alexandria?
The Alexandria Health Department worked with the National Center on Healthy Housing to review local healthy homes policy, program, and data assets and gaps in Alexandria. Read the report here and find the detailed code analysis here. This report shows that while the city has some resources to deal with the challenges around home-related health conditions, we need to do more to coordinate those efforts and truly address the root causes of poor health. This study is the first step to a long-term solution for improving home conditions in our community.
Why does air quality matter?
Most people spend a lot of time indoors, particularly during the pandemic. Prolonged exposure to indoor air pollutants is associated with a wide range of poor health outcomes, from headaches and dry eyes to cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.
What is particulate matter?
Particulate matter is a mixture of solid and/or liquid particles within the air. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and in some cases cause serious health effects.
Where does particulate matter come from?
Indoor particulate matter can be created through cooking, combustion activities (including burning of candles, use of fireplaces, use of unvented space heaters or kerosene heaters, cigarette smoking) and other activities.
Links to other Resources about Air Quality:
Keep an eye on this page as we add more information about the long term goals for healthier homes in Alexandria and opportunities to get involved.