Our homes directly impact our health outcomes. Unhealthy housing, substandard living conditions, dangerous environmental exposures and equitable and affordable housing opportunities all impact a family’s ability to live, learn, grow and play together. Poor air quality, lead paint and pipes, inadequate ventilation, pest infestations, water leaks and other hazardous conditions put people and their families at a higher risk for health problems like asthma, allergies, respiratory conditions and other chronic diseases. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, housing conditions can and should support good health. These principles provide a framework for describing the critical components of a healthy home.
Healthy Homes Are:
Damp homes provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches, rodents and molds. All are associated with triggering asthma.
Keeping a home clean and clutter-free will help reduce pest infestations and exposure to environmental contaminants.
Studies show increasing the flow of fresh air supply throughout the home improves respiratory health.
When adequate temperature control is not maintained, prolonged exposure to excessive heat or cold can increase health risks.
Studies show a causal relationship between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children. Pesticide residues from home treatments pose risks for neurological damage, cancer and other health issues.
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, affecting some 535,000 U.S. children annually.
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.
Keep your home contaminant-free. Chemical exposures to asbestos particles, lead, radon gas, carbon monoxide, pesticides, VOCs, PFAS and secondhand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.
When more than 30% of income is spent on housing, households are considered cost burdened. If more than 50% of income is spent on housing, households are deemed severely cost burdened. Substandard housing, overcrowding or homelessness can result from housing cost burdens and home instability for families facing difficulty paying rent or mortgage.
Accessibility modifications are often necessary in order for occupants to move safely into homes. Lack of accessibility in and around the home can result in reduced physical activity, injury, isolation and poor mental health. Every new home should be designed to improve accessibility for all occupants, regardless of age, ability or mobility challenges.