The 8th Annual New Hampshire Healthy Homes Conference was held Tuesday, October 23 at the Grappone Center in Concord. This year’s conference focused on “building partnerships between health, housing, safety, energy, and family service providers” and over 200 participants attended the day-long event. Sessions topics covered a wide range of healthy homes topics, including safe gun storage in the home, preventing childhood lead poisoning, solar energy, radon, soil contaminants in your garden, aging safely in place, safe drinking water, indoor air quality, cultural competency for home visitors, and recent changes to NH’s lead laws.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Kim M. Cecil, Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Neuroscience, and Environmental Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is the lead imaging researcher for the Cincinnati Lead Study (CLS). The CLS is the longest-running longitudinal study of the long-term negative impact of childhood lead exposure in the world. Dr. Cecil and the CLS were featured in the May 2017 PBS NOVA special report titled “Poisoned Waters,” in which the water disaster in Flint was investigated. Her presentation, “Lead Astray: The Importance of Healthy Homes,” reviewed the outcomes for CLS participants as they were followed into adulthood. The presentation included an expanded focus on why healthy home environments, free of lead paint hazards, are vitally important to supporting the health of New Hampshire’s children and communities.
The Healthy Homes Conference also included a presentation by Bill and Elizabeth Burr, a Dover, NH couple whose four young children were recently poisoned. In their presentation titled “Our Family’s Experience with Lead Poisoning: When Home is the Most Dangerous Place of All,” they shared their personal story of how their recently-purchased home in Dover poisoned them and their four children with one child’s blood lead level so high that hospitalization for chelation treatment was required. They also shared how their lives were turned upside-down as they realized what they thought they knew about the presence of lead hazards was hopelessly out of date and how the many people involved in the purchase of their home did not know or were incentivized not to mention these hazards. The blood lead level test at their daughter’s Well Child Check made them aware that the whole family was being poisoned by lead. Additionally, they discussed how they are now aware that this problem is all around us and that very few people are aware of the extent to which they and their children are at risk.
Break out session presentations are available on the conference website.