The Seattle-King County healthy homes project: implementation of a comprehensive approach to improving indoor environmental quality for low-income children with asthma

Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Apr;110 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):311-22. doi: 10.1289/ehp.02110s2311.


Pediatric asthma is a growing public health issue, disproportionately affecting low-income people and people of color. Exposure to indoor asthma triggers plays an important role in the development and exacerbation of asthma. We describe the implementation of the Seattle-King County Healthy Homes Project, a randomized, controlled trial of an outreach/education intervention to improve asthma-related health status by reducing exposure to allergens and irritants in the home. We randomly assigned 274 low-income children with asthma ages 4-12 to either a high- or a low-intensity group. In the high-intensity group, community health workers called Community Home Environmental Specialists (CHES) conducted initial home environmental assessments, provided individualized action plans, and made additional visits over a 12-month period to provide education and social support, encouragement of participant actions, provision of materials to reduce exposures (including bedding encasements), assistance with roach and rodent eradication, and advocacy for improved housing conditions. Members of the low-intensity group received the initial assessment, home action plan, limited education during the assessment visit, and bedding encasements. We describe the recruitment and training of CHES and challenges they faced and explain the assessment and exposure reduction protocols addressing dust mites, mold, tobacco smoke, pets, cockroaches, rodents, dust, moisture, and toxic or hazardous chemicals. We also discuss the gap between the practices recommended in the literature and what is feasible in the home. We accomplished home interventions and participants found the project very useful. The project was limited in resolving structural housing quality issues that contributed to exposure to indoor triggers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control*
  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Services
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Selection
  • Poverty*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality Control
  • Urban Population
  • Washington


  • Allergens