A healthy home prevents injury and disease, keeping you and  your family safe.

Did you know…
1 in 16 homes have high radon levels
1 in 10 homes have water leaks
1 in 6 homes have structural problems
1 in 4 homes have lead-based paint
1 in 4 homes do not have a working smoke alarm

Learn ways that you can keep your home healthy!

Online Healthy Home Resources:

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Centers for Disease Control and Protection

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

National Center for Healthy Housing

7 Steps to a Healthy Home PDF

 

Healthy Homes Resources

Most people spend at least half of every day inside their homes. A healthy, safe, affordable, and accessible home supports their basic needs and protects them from illness and injury. Unhealthy housing conditions may seem like cosmetic problems. But hazards can lurk where you least expect them: peeling paint can contain lead, too much moisture can result in mold, and clutter can shelter insects and rodents. And some deadly hazards are invisible, such as carbon monoxide and radon.

Download the Seven Tips for Keeping A Healthy Home sheet or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Homes for Everyone: The Guide for Families and Individuals for more information and tips on keeping your home healthy!

Reducing Lead Risks

Lead from paint, dust and soil can be dangerous if not managed properly. Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born. Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies. People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard. It’s important to have your home tested for lead, especially if they were built before 1978.

Hire a trained, certified testing professional who will use a range of reliable methods when testing your home.

1. A paint inspection tells you whether your home has lead-based paint and where it is located. It won’t tell you whether or not your home currently has lead hazards.
2. A risk assessment tells you if your home currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust or soil. It also tells you what actions to take to address any hazards.
3. A combination risk assessment and inspection tells you if your home has any lead hazards and if your home has any lead-based paint, and where the lead-based paint is located.

What you can do NOW to protect your family…

1. If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.-Clean up paint chips immediately.
2. Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly.
3. Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
4. Wash children’s hands often, especialy before they eat and before nap time and bed time.
5. Keep play areas clean by washing bottles, toys, and stuffed animals regularly.
6. Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
7. Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium, such as spinach and dairy products. Children with good diets absorb less lead.
8. Plants can also help clean lead in your soil. Certain amazing, but common and easy to grow plants suck up lead and store it in their roots, stems, and leaves! To learn more this gardening tip and what plants can help you clean your soil, check out Keep Western New York Beautiful’s “Green to Clean” Brochure!

Learn more about protecting your home from lead by visiting EPA’s website.

Minimizing Mold

Molds are microscopic plant-like organisms. They can grow on many surfaces and flourish in damp places like bathrooms and basements. Molds reproduce by sending spores into the air; inhaled mold spores are a common asthma trigger.

To reduce moisture and mold:
1. Fix leaky pipes, faucets, or roofs. Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
2. Make sure your bathrooms and basement are well ventilated. Install and use exhaust fans to help lower moisture in these areas.
3. If you have any damp closets, clean them thoroughly and leave a 100-watt bulb on all the time to increase the temperature and dry out the air.
4. Run a dehumidifier in the basement or other damp areas. Again, it’s important to empty and clean the water pan often.
5. Remove wallpaper and wall-to-wall carpeting from bathrooms and basement rooms.
6. Run the air conditioning (this is especially helpful if you have central air), making sure to change the filter monthly.
7. Avoid houseplants, which may harbor mold in their soil.
8. Clean any visible mold or mildew with a solution that’s one part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water. Don’t paint or caulk over moldy surfaces without cleaning them first.
9. When painting bathrooms or other damp areas of your house, use anti-mildew paint.
10. If there’s visible mold on ceiling tiles, remove and replace them. Also check to see if there’s a leaky pipe that may be causing the problem.
11. Replace or wash moldy shower curtains.

Learn more about mold by visiting EPA’s website.

Asthma Management

Trigger-proofing your home can seem overwhelming, especially if your child has multiple triggers. And the fact is, you won’t be able to eliminate all triggers. Although you want your home to be safe for your child, you can’t wrap it in a bubble.Your doctor can help you decide which steps are necessary.

But here are five tips to try to reduce asthma triggers:
1. Put mattress covers on any bed your child sleeps in.
2. Get rid of carpeting.
3. Reduce dust.
4. Get rid of any pest infestations.
5. Don’t permit smoking anywhere in your home.

Reducing triggers in your home — when combined with the rest of your child’s asthma action plan (which might involve regular medication and allergy shots) — can help your child breathe better and have fewer flare-ups. Indeed, one study showed that when measures were taken to eliminate dust mites, kids with this trigger had fewer asthma symptoms, needed their rescue medication less often, and were generally less sensitive to their other triggers.

Learn more about asthma by visiting EPA’s website.

Carbon Monoxide

You can’t see, taste, feel, or smell carbon monoxide (CO). However, this deadly gas can make you very sick or even kill you. It’s important to have at least working Carbon Monoxide Detector to protect you and your family. A good alarm will make a loud noise when CO levels become too high. Don’t forget to check the batteries every six months!

Radon

Radon (Rn) is a radioactive gas.  It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water. In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon, too. However, building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves.

For information on how you can have your home tested for Radon and to find a qualified radon service professional, visit EPA’s website.