WHAT MAKES A HEALTHY HOME?
Many homes fall short of the basic requirements of a healthy home and contain one or more hazards that affect human health.
According to the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), a healthy home is…
1. Dry: Damp houses provide an ideal environment for mites, roaches, rodents, and molds, all of which are associated with asthma and respiratory illnesses.
2. Clean: Clean homes help reduce pest infestations and exposure to contaminants.
3. Pest-Free: Recent studies show a connection between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children. Incorrect treatment for pest infestations can exacerbate health problems and pose risks for neurological damage and cancer.
4. Safe: Falls are the most frequent cause of injuries to children in their home. Injuries from objects, burns, and poisonings follow.
5. Contaminant-Free: Contaminants include lead, radon, pesticides, asbestos, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and tobacco smoke. The exposure levels to these elements can be far higher indoors than outside.
6. Ventilated: Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health.
7. 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. Lead poisoning affects about 535,000 U.S. children.
8. Thermally Controlled: Tenants and homeowners are at risk for various health problems related to prolonged exposure to excessive heat or cold when their homes do not maintain adequate temperatures.
Contaminants are not always visible.
For example, radon gas and carbon monoxide are both colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Carbon monoxide causes 200 accidental deaths a year in the U.S. Radon causes about 21,000. While anytime is a good time to have a Healthy Homes inspection, there are a few events where an inspection could prove to be even more vital:
- Birth of a child or the presence of young children.
- Member of the household treating for an existing health issue or illness (asthma, allergies).
- Member of the household having physical limitations, mobility issues or a disabled person moving into the home.
- Elderly family member coming to live with adult children.
- After home remodeling and renovation projects.
- Recovery after an event causing structural damage (fire, flooding, windstorm).
- Listing a home for sale or rent.
- Purchase or rental of a home.