illustration of a green field wioth blue sky and clouds

The precise cause of asthma is not yet known, the role of indoor and outdoor environmental factors is gaining attention, but more research needs to be done to better understand the relationships between many specific environmental factors and asthma.

Some indoor environmental factors have been shown to increase asthma symptoms and trigger asthma attacks in people who already have asthma. Common indoor environmental factors in this category include house dust mites, allergens produced by cats, dogs and cockroaches, secondhand smoke, fungi or molds, and high levels of nitrogen dioxide from indoor sources such as stoves, heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces. In addition, research suggests that house dust mites and secondhand smoke may contribute to the development of asthma in susceptible children.

The relationship between outdoor air pollution and asthma is less clear, though an increase in asthma symptoms is known to occur when pollen counts are high. Current research is focusing on the role ozone, sulfur dioxide, diesel particulates, and other outdoor air pollutants may play.

Interventions to address environmental factors recommend identifying allergen exposures, assessing sensitivity to allergens, and reducing or eliminating exposure. Creating "asthma-friendly" environments to minimize or eliminate common allergens is something people in communities can do in their homes, schools, and workplaces.

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Resources in Hew Hampshire

NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) Air Resources Division:

29 Hazen Drive, PO Box 95
Concord, NH 03302-0095
Toll-Free: 800-498-6868
Phone: 603-271-1370
Fax: 603-271-1381
email: [email protected]

NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) Air Quality Forecasting - For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire,
Toll-Free: 800-935-SMOG

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Indoor Air Quality Program - For information and assistance concerning indoor air quality.
Phone: 603-271-3911

NH Environmental Health Tracking Program - The NH Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Program is your source for State and National environmental health data.
For more information, contact the NH Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health
Phone: 603-271-4664
Toll-Free: 1-800-852-3345 ext. 4988
Contact: Claire Gendron, [email protected]

Project INHALE (Integrated Human Health and Air Quality Research) - Climate Change Research Center, Institute for the Study or Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire.
Phone: 603-862-5369

The Jordan Institute - A non-profit organization that helps communities enhance the health of people and the environment.

Regional Resources

Air Quality Forecast

EPA Daily Air Quality Forecast
NH DES – Air Quality Forecast
Phone: 1-800-821-1237

NOAA Air Map

State Air Quality Hotlines

New Hampshire - 800-935-SMOG (7664)

Maine - 1-800-223-1196

Massachusetts: 1-800-882-1497 (operates May through September)

Vermont: 1-888-520-4879 or 802-241-3840

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Children's Environmental Health Resources Guide - Includes a list of all the organizations in the United States that are involved with children and the environment.

Environmental Health Watch's Asthma Page - EHW is a non profit organization that provides health and environment information, assistance and advocacy.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England

New England Asthma Regional Council (ARC) web sites for:

Environmental Investments

Healthy Housing

Healthy Schools

offsite logo The Lung Association's International Centre for Air Quality and Health - A Partnership of the Lung Associations in Eastern Canada and New England. Contact [email protected]

Maine Air Toxics Initiative

Mold Course for Environmental and Public Health Professionals

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National Resources

Dealing with Mold and Mildew in Your Flood Damaged Home - from FEMA

Mold Course for Environmental and Public Health Professionals

National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Provides links to organizations and agencies that have asthma programs. The resources provided through this site are extensive and targeted at a wide range of audiences.

America's Children and the Environment Measures of Contaminants, Body Burdens and Illnesses, Second Edition. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Includes quantitative information from a variety of sources to show trends in levels of environmental contaminants in air, water, food, and soil; concentrations of contaminants measured in the bodies of children and women; and childhood illnesses (including asthma)that may be influenced by exposure to environmental contaminants.

Tools for Schools Action Kit. Managing Indoor Air Quality in the School Environment. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Helps schools identify, solve and prevent indoor air quality problems in the school environment.
Toll-Free: 800-438-4318

Catching Your Breath: Strategies to Reduce Environmental Factors That Contribute to Asthma in Children. - A report from the Working Group of Representatives from State Health and Environmental Agencies. Downloadable at:

Environmental Council of the States (ECOS)
444 N. Capitol St., Suite 445
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-624-3660
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
1275 K Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-371-9090

Asthma Triggers

Resources for Environmental Specialists

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