Got Asthma? Maybe Blame Your Landlord

New York City forces landlords to improve conditions that cause asthma
New York City forces landlords to improve conditions that cause asthma

New York City is fighting asthma in a new way: by forcing 175 slumlords to clean up their act.

The City Council is focusing on the worst landlord offenders. These are the slumlords who do not fix conditions such as mold, vermin, insect infestation, and garbage. All of these unsanitary conditions are contributing factors that worsen asthma rates in the most poverty-stricken areas of the city.

Why the hubbub? Because asthma adversely affects the health of up to 400,000 children in the city, reports The New York Times. And asthma can have a domino effect on individual health as well as collective economic growth.

Asthma rates have grown by more than 160% from 1980-1994, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Asthmatic children become adults with greater chances of adverse health conditions, such as obesity, reports Yale University. Obesity, in turn, increases risk of multiple health conditions and reduced economic productivity, via work absenteeism.