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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30528
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: October 15, 2019 03:57 PM
From: Representative Jeanne McNeill
To: All House members
Subject: Hygiene Poverty Awareness Week
 
Many people in poverty or those who find themselves in times of crisis often have to make the difficult decision to eat or stay clean because they cannot afford to do both. Hygiene poverty is a hidden crisis in America, causing one in three low-income families to struggle to afford basic essentials, such as deodorant, soap, and feminine care products. The inability to afford basic hygiene products places an emotional strain on parents and other adults in the household. Nearly 50 percent of low-income families often worry about whether they can meet the needs of their children because they lack basic household essentials at home.

Households affected by hygiene poverty often employ coping strategies including brushing teeth without toothpaste or washing without soap which greatly increases the likelihood for hygiene-related diseases. Furthermore, the impact of hygiene poverty is affecting our children, with as many as one in five girls missing school because they or their families are unable to afford feminine hygiene products. Feminine care products are not luxury items or something a woman can decline to use, and the struggle to attain them is further exacerbated given that these items are not covered by assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Hygiene poverty is shaming, humiliating and excluding and can result in social isolation. As such, I will be introducing a resolution designating November 4-10, 2019, as “Hygiene Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania. Please join me in supporting this important resolution.