Penn State and Philadelphia schools fight pests that trigger asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease affecting ten percent of school-aged children in the United States. In Philadelphia, this number jumps to almost 25 percent, and in some neighborhoods, nearly 50 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed. The Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management (PA IPM) program — a collaboration between the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture — is partnering with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to reduce asthma triggers in schoolchildren by preventing pests, including mice and cockroaches, from entering schools.

“Asthma can limit physical activity, and is the number one reason for school absenteeism Nationwide,” said Michelle Niedermeier, community IPM coordinator for PA IPM. “While asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled with medication and by avoiding common triggers such as tobacco smoke, mold, cockroaches, and mice. School buildings that can be easily penetrated by mice and other pests might be a contributing factor to this high incidence of asthma.” Continue reading

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Food Safety Challenge Area

This AFRI Challenge Area promotes and enhances the scientific discipline of food safety, with an overall aim of protecting consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants that may occur during all stages of the food chain, from production to consumption. This requires an understanding of the interdependencies of human, animal, and ecosystem health as it pertains to foodborne pathogens. The long-term outcome for this program is to reduce foodborne illnesses and deaths by improving the safety of the food supply, which will result in reduced impacts on public health and on our economy. In order to achieve this outcome, this program will support single-function Research Projects and multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants that address one of the Program Area Priorities (see Food Safety RFA for details).

Click here to see the RFA.