Making Homes Healthier for Families
Which would you choose: to live in a home you could afford, or one that is healthy for your family? Sadly, too many families in America are forced with that decision every day.
HUD believes our communities should make homes available to families that are affordable and healthy. “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. Help Yourself to a Healthy Home provides valuable information to assist in making your home healthier for you and your family.
But it’s not just older homes that contain hazards. Even newer expensive homes may have hazards lurking within. Creating healthier housing promotes the healthy growth and development of children and has the potential to save billions in health care costs. Everyone needs a healthy home and some of the most serious health problems for children start in their home. There are special reasons to think about children:
- Children’s bodies are still growing.
- For their size, children eat more food, drink more water and breathe more air than adults.
- Children play and crawl on the ground and put their fingers into their mouths.
- Children depend on adults to make their homes safe.
So what can you do?
Fortunately there are some really simple ways to help make your home a healthier place for you and your family. By following the Seven Healthy Homes Principles below, you can help make your home a healthier place to live in.
Follow the 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 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Keep your home Ventilated:
Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health.
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.