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Escamilla, Romero announce new furnace filter exchange program

Aim to help west-side families improve indoor air quality
Posted at 4:30 PM, Jan 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-08 18:54:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah continues to grapple with the bad outdoor air, lawmakers have introduced a new initiative to help families on the west-side improve their indoor air quality.

In a press conference held at the capitol, Senator Luz Escamilla and Representative Angela Romero announced the launch of a new furnace filter exchange program.

Funded by the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, the program allows households in West Valley and the west side of Salt Lake City to upgrade to high-efficiency furnace filters at no cost.

"This program aims to reach working families in our Westside communities who are just trying to survive," Senator Escamilla wrote in a statement. "Every part of the state should have good air quality regardless of location.”

While much of the attention has been the smog seen outside, doctors warn that for children with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, poor indoor air quality can have a negative impact on their overall health.

"There are a lot of different triggers, and those are sometimes family dependent,"says Dr. Shana Godfred-Cato, a pediatrician with Primary Children's Hospital. "We have found that families who do a lot of cooking such as frying, have a lot of candles or incense, those can be triggers within the home."

To qualify, households must have access to their homes furnace and have children diagnosed with or suspected of having respiratory illnesses such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia among others.

The program is currently limited to 100 households, with plans to expand in the near future. Those interested can apply for the program using this Google form.