A Healthy Home
New Housing Trend: Health
Many people imagine the greatest dangers to their health lurking outside their doorway: sick co-workers at the office, kids with runny noses at the playground, or even the lettuce in your Chipotle burrito. However, with most Americans spending up to 90 percent of their time indoors, the real dangers are closer to home than you think.
In an effort to educate homeowners about health hazards in the home and how to prevent them, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deemed June 2016 the first-ever National Healthy Homes Month. HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes created the initiative, adopting the slogan “Everyone Deserves a Safe and Healthy Home” for its first year. Each week of the month included its own theme, such as “Change is in the Air!” which encouraged homeowners to focus on reducing hazards in the air they breathe.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, indoor air quality, water quality and residential chemicals are among the main factors that influence the effects your home has on your health. Since we are constantly surrounded by these elements, it may seem intimidating to make sure your home is up to snuff in all of these major areas. Fear not, for these factors often go hand-in-hand and there are simple steps you can take to improve the environment in your home.
- The first rule of keeping the air in your home clean? No smoking. It pollutes the air, and it puts you and others in your home at risk for a myriad of health issues.
- Make sure you have the appropriate equipment installed to filter or alert you to the presence of toxic gases in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is a good place to start, and you should also find out if the area you live in has high enough levels of radon to merit mitigation.
- Staying hydrated is important for your overall health, and having a water filtration system may encourage you to drink more H2O while also keeping it clean. There are pitchers with built in filters as well as attachments you can put directly on your kitchen sink, depending on your preference.
- If your home depends on a well for its water source, you could be more at risk for water pollution since wells are unregulated and their maintenance and safety is left up to the homeowner. Be sure to test your well for contaminants regularly and perform necessary maintenance.
Be Cautious of Chemicals
- Far too many of the products that make our homes feel and smell nice and clean contain toxic chemicals that quietly pose threats to the well-being of our households. Everything from cleaning solutions to air fresheners can contain harmful chemicals, so try opting for safer remedies such as natural cleaning solutions or an essential oil diffuser.
- If you do keep potentially harmful substances on hand for specific purposes, such as medications or pesticides, make sure you keep them out of reach of animals and children and use only as directed.
In conjunction with the founding of National Healthy Homes Month, HUD also launched their new app, Healthy Homes Basics. The app contains different options to help you start your journey toward a safer and healthier home, such as lists of tips that apply to different rooms in the home and various ways that the atmosphere of your home can impact your health. Healthy Homes Basics is available on both iPhone and Android, since after all, “Everyone Deserves a Safe and Healthy Home.”