Harlem Word: Ray Lopez -- Learn how to make your home a safer place and lower your chances of developing asthma

We interviewed Ray Lopez, the director of Little Sisters Family Asthma Program.

The Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) is a non-profit that has been helping people through home health agencies and family services for 50 years. Through the Family Asthma Program, LSA has been helping East Harlem families whose children have asthma make their homes clean and pest-free for over a decade.

Q: What is Integrated Pest Management?

A: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a way to deal with pests in your home. It is not an alternative method for pest control - it is the most effective method for pest control. Traditional methods practiced by professional exterminators (for roaches- base board spraying or just placing baits/gels, and for mice- traps and poisons) without physical controls (such as vacuuming or sealing) are not enough to reduce and eliminate infestations. Rather than using chemicals, we use the IPM idea to figure out what draws pests to your home and finds ways to eliminate those things. For example, with mice, we try to figure out where they are entering the home, and then block the opening.

Q: How does your program work?

A: If an asthmatic household's environment is not in great condition, we refer families to an IPM cleaning service called Healthy Nest. It provides a free, one-time intensive household cleaning. We then provide a follow-up service for families to help them keep their households clean. We supply the family with supplies, such as bait stations or spackle, to help them with clean up, to help keep pests out of homes. We also have a HEPA filter vacuum families can borrow to help keep their households clean.

Q: Who does your program serve?

A: Our clients are mostly children with asthma, but the program is open to people of all ages. We serve the residents living in zip codes 10029 and 10035.

Q: What is unique about your program?

A: Rather than try to eliminate pests with chemical sprays, which cannot prevent all of the pests in the world, our approach looks to eliminate pests from homes by stopping the reasons they enter and remain. The program helps everyone in the family have a healthier living space.

Read more from Ray Lopez by clicking here.

Harlem Word is a series of interviews with Northern Manhattan health experts, written by HHPC and reviewed by our Health Advisory Board.


This seems like a great and very important program! There is a conference sponsored by The Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health on March 30, where they are also going to discuss IPM. Daniel Kass from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is giving an interesting speech entitled "A Collaborative Effort to Evaluate the Impact of Integrated Pest Management in New York City Public Housing." I'm definitely going - and will report back!
I saw this today! Uh oh! Looks like Ray's techniques are going to be especially useful!

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