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Bureau of Epidemiology

Environmental Epidemiology Program

Healthy Homes
healthyhomes

A Healthy Home promotes a decent, safe and sanitary condition to help families prevent injury and disease.
In 2007, HUD conducted the American Housing Survey, which showed that six million households live with moderate or severe physical housing problems. Anyone can suffer from housing related injury and illness; although certain groups such as children, the elderly, or individuals with chronic illness are more vulnerable.

Children, who typically spend the majority of their time indoors, are more at risk to the effects of biological, chemical, and physical exposures. It is important to make every effort to minimize the possible dangers in and around your home. These possible dangers include allergens, asbestos, combustion products (e.g., furnace, water heater, and generator), pests (e.g., cockroaches, bed bugs, mice, etc.), lead based paint, mold, household/automotive cleaners, pesticides/herbicides, radon, take home hazards, and injury hazards. The developing child from pre-birth through the toddler stage, make children more susceptible when exposed to environmental hazards.

These environmental hazards and associated health risks tend to be interrelated. Having an increase in moisture/humidity, poor indoor air quality and increased levels of contaminated dust are all common causes for these environmental hazards. For instance, taking care of excess moisture/humidity, in the home, can help take care of the health conditions associated with allergies and asthma, as well as the deterioration of lead-based paint, preventing possible poisoning from lead exposure.

You can help make your home a healthier place to live, for you and your family by following The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Seven Healthy Homes Principles:

 

1. Keep your home Dry:
Damp houses provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches, rodents, and molds, all of which are associated with asthma.

2. Keep your home Clean:
Clean homes help reduce pest infestations and exposure to contaminants.

3. Keep your home Safe:
The majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings.

4. Keep your home Ventilated:
Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health.

5. Keep your home Pest-Free:
Recent studies show a causal relationship between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children; yet inappropriate treatment for pest infestations can exacerbate health problems, since pesticide residues in homes pose risks for neurological damage and cancer.

6. Keep your home Contaminant-Free:
Chemical exposures include lead, radon, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to asbestos particles, radon gas, carbon monoxide, and second-hand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.

7. Keep your home Maintained:
Poorly-maintained homes are at risk for moisture and pest problems. Deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing is the primary cause of lead poisoning, which affects some 240,000 U.S. children.