||Tufts Univ., Boston, MA. School of Medicine. ;Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA. ;Boston Medical Center, MA. Dept. of Pediatrics. ;Committee for Boston Public Housing, Roxbury, MA.;Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC. Air Pollution Prevention and Control Div.
The paper reports baseline data and lessons learned about conducting asthma research in public housing. Nine families with asthmatic children living in a public housing development in Boston were enrolled in an asthma intervention program aimed at reducing environmental factors associated with their housing. Interventions were tailored to each residence. Given the small sample size, the purpose of the study was twofold: (1) to document lessons that would make future studies and programs directed at childhood asthma among public housing residents more successful; and (2) to collect a high density of environmental measurements of biological and chemical contaminants and physical factors in order to generate hypotheses about possible asthma intervention programs for public housing. Visual observation suggested that overheating, cockroaches, moisture problems, mice, and overcrowding were common. Used upholstered furniture and multiple mattresses both in the child's room and slept in by the child were found. Quantitative assessment show high temperatures, very low relative humidity in February, high levels of cockroach antigen, relatively moderate levels of other antigens, variable levels of viable fungal spores, and elevated nitrogen dioxide levels. We conclude that the levels of environmental contaminants were largely similar to other such reports.