The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has designated June, "Healthy Homes Month." "Healthy Homes" is a century-old concept that promotes safe, decent, and sanitary housing as a means for preventing disease and injury. There is a lot of emerging scientific evidence linking health outcomes such as asthma, lead poisoning, and unintentional injuries to substandard housing. And, there are more than 6 million substandard housing units nationwide, and it is not just older homes that contain hazards. Even newer expensive homes may have hazards lurking within.
Fortunately there are some really simple ways to help make your home a healthier place for you and your family. By following HUD's Eight Healthy Homes Principles, you can help make your home a healthier place to live in.
- Keep it Dry: Prevent water from entering your home through leaks in roofing systems, rain water from entering the home due to poor drainage, and check your interior plumbing for any leaking.
- Keep it Clean : Control the source of dust and contaminants, creating smooth and cleanable surfaces, reducing clutter, and using effective wet-cleaning methods.
- Keep it Safe: Store poisons out of the reach of children and properly label. Secure loose rugs and keep children's play areas free from hard or sharp surfaces. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep fire extinguishers on hand.
- Keep it Well-Ventilated: Ventilate bathrooms and kitchens and use whole house ventilation for supplying fresh air to reduce the concentration of contaminants in the home. Be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. Then, test the alarms at least once a month.
- Keep it Pest-free: All pests look for food, water and shelter. Seal cracks and openings throughout the home; store food in pest-resistant containers. If needed, use sticky-traps and baits in closed containers, along with least toxic pesticides.
- Keep it Contaminant-free : Reduce lead-related hazards in pre-1978 homes by fixing deteriorated paint, and keeping floors and window areas clean using wet-cleaning approach. Test your home for radon, a naturally occurring dangerous gas that enters homes through soil, crawlspaces, and foundation crack. Install a radon removal system if levels above the EPA action-level are detected..
- Keep your home Maintained: : Inspect, clean and repair your home routinely. Take care of minor repairs and problems before they become large repairs and problems
- Thermally Controlled: Houses that do not maintain adequate temperatures may place the safety of residents at increased risk from exposure to extreme cold or heat.