|A healthy home is well ventilated;
free of pests, toxics, and dangerous gases; dry;
clean; comfortable; and
affordable. Good construction and maintenance practices can
achieve these conditions, even in an older home.
homes minimize moisture and molds.
Moisture and molds can
trigger asthma attacks
and other allergic reactions. Water and moisture also attract
and help dust mites
to thrive, all of which can also increase the risk of asthma attacks.
homes have minimal dust and clutter.
Researchers and medical experts have proven that dust sensitizes individuals
and can trigger asthma attacks. Dust generally comes from two sources:
- outdoor particles that are tracked in on shoes
or drawn in through heating and ventilation systems or air leakage
mites livindg inside our homes
Nearly two-thirds of the dust in our homes is tracked in from outdoors,
making a dust-free home a practical impossibility. However, we can reduce
the amount of dust we bring in from outside by designing entryway systems
to help remove dust from our shoes before we bring it inside. Filters
for heating, ventilation,
and air cooling (HVAC) systems are also effective in reducing dust particles
in the home. Reducing excessive moisture and relative humidity can also
make a home less inviting for dust mites. In all cases, it is helpful
to build homes with smooth and cleanable materials that make it easier
to remove dust and dust mites through cleaning. Clutter contributes to
increased levels of dust by creating surfaces for dust to gather. Keeping
floor and countertop areas clear, particularly near vents, will prevent
dust from building up. While insufficient housekeeping can be a factor
in dust build-up, an overcrowded setting also plays a role.
homes have systems to remove contaminants and allergens that can
cause respiratory problems such as dust and byproducts from heating and
cooking. These mechanisms
include fans that exhaust to the outside and changes in air pressure to
ensure the movement of air from the outside to the inside.
which can cause death and more subtle health effects (fatigue, headaches,
nausea). Products that can create carbon monoxide include cars in an attached
garage (when the engine is warming up), gas stoves, gas water heaters,
gas furnaces with a cracked heat exchanger or a leaking chimney, non-electric
space heaters, and gas fireplaces.
homes reduce the presence
of pests such as cockroaches. Cockroaches shed feces and skins that can
trigger allergic reactions often associated with asthma and other respiratory
problems. Adverse health conditions can also arise when homeowners reacting
to a pest problem apply harmful pesticides
in their homes.
homes reduce and eliminate
toxins, such as asbestos,
lead, volatile organic
compounds, and pesticides.
Some types of flooring and the adhesives used to attach them can emit
volatile organic compounds (VOCs). “Offgassing” refers to
the release of gases during the aging and deterioration of a material.
The Carpet and Rug Institute had created standards for low-VOC carpets
and rugs (see resource below).
homes make it unlikely that
individuals will unknowingly take actions that can harm their health.
For example, excess cold may cause people to use stoves and ovens for
heating, leading to chronic and perhaps acute exposure to carbon monoxide.
Humidifiers may be installed to relieve an excessively dry environment,
creating extra moisture that can contribute to molds and foster the growth
of dust mites, both of which are asthma
American Lung Association - Health
of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
Carpet and Rug Institute - Green
U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention - National
Center for Environmental Health
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office
of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Indoor
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