Dimos Polyzois: Healthy Housing Standards for First Nations Communities

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Dimos Polyzois, Professor & Associate Head (Research), Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba, spoke about developing healthy housing standards for Canada's First Nations communities …

Dimos Polyzois, Professor & Associate Head (Research), Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba, spoke about developing healthy housing standards for Canada's First Nations communities during the CECTalks webcast Moving beyond “low-cost/no-cost” healthy homes programs: The Alaska Experience on May 30. Find out more at http://cec.org/CECTalks

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  • We had a 25% response rate from parents for Part 1Our samples size was almost 3,500 childrenPart 2 involved selecting a subsample of 715 for further home inspection, and airsampling


  • 1. Dr. Dimos Polyzois in frontof the Ambiente Demo Housemade entirely of compositeMaterials built in Winnipegand designed forNorthern communities
  • 2. In 2011 we received major funding from:The Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Counciland theCanadian Institutes of Health Research…to develop healthy housing standards forFirst Nations communities2
  • 3. Dr. Dimos Polyzois Professor & Associate Head (Research)Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of ManitobaDr. Eleoussa Polyzoi Professor of Education, University of WinnipegDr. Pamela Orr Professor in the Departments of Medicine,Medical Microbiology and Community HealthSciences, University of ManitobaDr. Linda Larcombe Assistant Professor Department of CommunityHealth Sciences and Anthropology, University ofManitobaDr. Kris Dick Associate Professor of Biosystems Engineering,University of ManitobaDr. Marolo Alfaro Professor and Associate Head of CivilEngineering, University of Manitoba3RESEARCH TEAM
  • 5. Objective #1:Develop a set of housing standards and a process ofassessing First Nations housing to meet these standards5
  • 6. Objective #2:Develop a Best Practice Process for First Nations housingrenewal6
  • 7. Objective #3:Assess the impact of poor housing on health andeducation of First Nations childrenMarch by school children in Moosonee, Ontario in support ofShannens Dream - Equitable Funding for First Nation Schools.7
  • 8. Objective #4:Develop a Healthy Housing Index (HHI)which will serve as a tool to measure thelink between housing conditions andhealth, using both medical and buildingsciences.8
  • 9. The community of our study:• Located approximately 80 km from Winnipeg• Total population: 1069• Total number of houses: 1809
  • 10. To date, we have :• Conducted extensive inspections of 159 houses(90% of all homes in the community)• Collected and analyzed over 450 air samples• Conducted over 140 interviews with one adult from each household• Carried out infrared thermography and energy audits of 30 homes• Obtained permission to access the school and health recordsof the children
  • 11. Today’s discussion will focus on mould inFirst Nations housing
  • 12. What are safe levels for mould?12
  • 13. (Source: Schleibinger, H.; Yang, W. “Indoor air quality and mould”, IRC-ORAL-835, March 2007)13
  • 14. “[These Guidelines] do not represent a „safe level‟ ofmould, are not applicable to homes, and in no wayrepresent an official Health Canada guideline orrecommendation.”Currently, Health Canada claims:14
  • 15. Health Canada considers indoor mouldgrowth to be a potential health hazard.However,15
  • 16. (Source: http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/obj/irc/doc/pubs/oral835/oral835.pdf)TOTAL 1329Cladosporium 873Yeast 42Alternaria 269Epicoccum 73Chaetomium 23Penecilium 50Fusarium 29Chrysosporium 38Aspergillus 71Stachybotrys 75Acremonium 19Mucor 15Scupulariopsis 19Rhizopus 19Average Mould Counts (CFU/m3)For a First Nations Community
  • 17. How much is too much?17
  • 19. Dr. Dimos Polyzois Professor of Civil Engineering, Universityof ManitobaDr. Eleoussa Polyzoi Professor of Education, University ofWinnipegDr. Anita Kozyrskyj Associate Professor in the Department ofCommunity Health Sciences, Faculty ofMedicine,and Faculty of Pharmacy, University ofManitobaDr. Kimberly Thompson Associate Professor of Risk Analysis andDecision ScienceDepartment of Health Policy andManagement, Harvard University
  • 20. 20This study involved:• 3423 Grades 3 and 4 children• Extensive inspection of 715 homes• 2145 air samples
  • 21. % of Homes with Minimum CFU/m3 Cutoff Levels of 100, 200,300, and 400 (all Species) – April0%10%20%30%40%50%60%≥ 100/m3 ≥ 200/m3 ≥ 300/m3 ≥ 400/m3PercentofAffectedHomesMinimum CFU Cutoff LevelsChild’s BedroomBasement21Approximately 50% of the homes had mould counts less than 100 CFU’s /m3Less than 10% of the homes had mould counts of greater than 400CFU’s/m3
  • 22. We also found that …Children with reported mould in their homewere more likely to have persistent colds.22
  • 23. Selected Findings (cont’d.)Children with asthma living in homes with visible mouldwere even more prone to persistent colds than thosewithout asthma.+23
  • 24. Selected Findings (cont’d.)60% of children who had asthma & persistentcolds missed up to 6 days of school in the last year.Another 20% missed up to 42 days of school.24
  • 25. Selected Findings (cont’d.)Children with asthma were found at all income levels:low, middle, or high (asthma has a strong geneticcomponent).25
  • 26. Selected Findings (cont’d.)However, children from low-income families hadsignificantly more persistent colds than children fromhigh-income families.26
  • 27. In the First Nations Community, on average:• The mould counts were 5 times those of Winnipeg• 88% of homes had mould counts larger than500 CFU/m3• 38% of the homes had at least 4 different types ofmould greater than 50 CFU/m3• 56% of the homes had penecillium levels varyingfrom 6 to 750 CFU/m3• According to Gent et al. (2012), any detectablelevel (>0 CFU/m3) of Penecillium was significantlyassociated with respiratory effects amongsanitized individuals
  • 28. Questions?