Almost 6 million U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical infrastructure problems—such as water leaks and intrusion; injury hazards; pests; and heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies. Also, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) estimates that approximately 30 million homes have indoor environmental hazards, including physical safety hazards, lead-based paint hazards, and pests. The OLHCHH has designated June as National Healthy Homes Month in order to create awareness around housing and its impact on health, on the national and local levels; to encourage organized, local community events; and to empower families to take action. The month also highlights federal and local resources that are available to make a difference in the places where families live, play, and grow.
For more than 10 years, the OLHCHH has promoted the ‘Principles of a Healthy Home,’ and during NHHM, we hope these Principles will help create standard messaging and practices around home health and safety. These principles are:
1. Keep your home Dry- Mold and moisture increase allergens and asthma triggers, and can cause deterioration of your home.
2. Keep your home Clean- Clean homes help reduce pest infestations, dust, and exposure to contaminants.
3. Keep your home Pest-Free Many pest treatments pose risks for families with health problems or expose young children and pets to poisonous residue. Non-pesticide treatments are best for a first line of defense.
4. Keep your home Safe- A 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, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to 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. Air filters in HVAC units collect and protect families from many particulates found in the air.
7. Keep your home Maintained Poorly-maintained homes increase the risk for deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing which is the primary cause of lead poisoning in children less than 6 years of age.
8. Keep your home Temperature Controlled-Houses that do not maintain adequate temperatures may place the safety of residents at increased risk from exposure to extreme cold or heat.
For more information about National Healthy Homes Month 2017, please visit HUD's website to learn more about NHHM and how to participate and get updates on activities. Additionally, check out HUD's Healthy Homes App to get tips on potentially serious health and safety problems in the home and the steps to take to protect your home and family. HUD's Healthy Homes App is available via Apple iTunes and Google Play.