Joseph Ponessa, PhD, MS

Air Date: 12-3-2010|Episode 188

Dr. Ponessa recently retired from Rutgers Cooperative Extension after serving 25 years as the Housing, Indoor Environment and Health specialist…

Full Description:

Dr. Ponessa recently retired from Rutgers Cooperative Extension after serving 25 years as the Housing, Indoor Environment and Health specialist. In that position, he worked on curriculum development and outreach education, serving both lay and professional audiences. Areas of specialization included the indoor environment and its impact on health; management of building moisture problems and building science/construction technology. We are looking forward to getting Dr. Ponessa’s views on the past, present and future of IEQ and building science issues.

Z-Man’s Blog:

Asthma Articulate

Joseph T. Ponessa, Ph.D. was an informative and entertaining guest on today’s broadcast of IAQ radio. The majority of the show was dedicated to asthma, a subject matter that Dr. P is passionate about.

Nuggets mined from today’s show:

Identified valuable resources available to IAQradio listeners: Cooperative Extensions of Universities, Healthy Housing Reference Manual and Healthy Housing Inspection Manual (with detailed protocols) are available from CDC

The medical opinion is that people afflicted with asthma can lead normal lives.

While many asthma triggers have been identified, we don’t know why people get asthma. Dust mites and cockroach are the most common triggers.

Asthma sufferers should keep a diary noting when and where they experience flare-ups and develop and individualized Asthma Action Plan. It is advisable that patients prepare their questions for their doctors in advance and have a relative or friend sit-in on the consult. Like with diabetes, the importance of patient behavior in the treatment of asthma is critically important. Children, teens and young adults who want to fit-in may be embarrassed about using an inhaler, resulting in a lack of medical compliance. Some patients are impatient with their medications and stop taking or stop taking medication when they feel better, govern reactions and interfere with treatment, knowledge of the disease, identification of triggers & avoidance of triggers.

A physician’s treatment of asthma treatment is by a trial and error process. Two types of medications are used to treat asthma. Steroids which reduce sensitivity to treatment and rescue medications (bronchial dilators). Perceptions such as confusing asthma treatment steroids with the anabolic steroids abused by athletes leads to people not taking their medication.

Some medical insurance companies don’t have a billing category for asthma education so patients may not receive the education and counseling that they need. Low income families don’t have a primary physician and use emergency rooms for treatment, so patient history is often overlooked.

A brief chronicle of the history of IEQ concern: 1700s Ben Franklin commentated on the importance of fresh air, 1869 Harriet Beecher Stowe had chapters on ventilating the home in her book the American Woman’s Home, New York City’s concern over tenements, 1940’s inversions in Pittsburgh and London where the city’s populations were advised to remain indoors where pollution levels were lower, 1960s Clean Air Act, 1970’s EPA, 1980 landmark Team Study on Urban and Rural Homes (VOCs)

Dr. P lists radon as the most important indoor pollutant.

Dr. P labeled ETS a “voluntary pollutant”.

Dr. P feels that the US could be shocked into banning smoking if hospitals rolled gurney’s with bodies on them who’s deaths were attributed to ETS into their parking lots.

Today’s music: “I’ve got asthma” by the Toy Dolls

Z-Man signing off