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Can Pest Control Help Asthma? New NYC Study Finds Out

Can Pest Control Help Asthma? New NYC Study Finds Out
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The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Montefiore Medical Center are recruiting subjects for a new study that's trying to determine whether pest control can reduce severe asthma symptoms.

The New York City Health Department says some of the highest rates of asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations are among children in the Bronx.  

The department says children in low-income areas like the South Bronx are far more exposed to environmental asthma triggers like mice and cockroaches than children living in affluent neighborhoods.  

Dan Kass, the department's Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Health, says the study will test whether safe and affordable pest control can reduce severe asthma symptoms in low-income children.  He says if it's a success, some health insurers could start covering visits from the exterminator.

"They're interested in this," he said.  "They have every reason to try to cut the costs of providing emergency care, which is ineffective and expensive."

Kass says it should take about a year to see visible results from the study.

The study is recruiting low-income children in the Bronx ages 5-12 who suffer from persistent asthma and are living in homes with pests.  Parents and caregivers of children interested in participating in the study should call 646-632-6304, email info_asthmastudy@health.nyc.gov, or visit the study's website.