Make your home a healthy home that is designed, built, and maintained to support your family's health. Learn more about making your home a healthy home from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here are some easy ways that you can avoid common environmental health hazards:
Avoid Tobacco Smoke
If you smoke, quit. If you do smoke, don't smoke in closed areas like homes or cars where others may be exposed to secondhand smoke.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide is highly toxic to humans and animals. Installing a carbon monoxide detector protects you and your family from accidental exposure. In addition, don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window, door, or vent. Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open. Don't heat your house with a gas oven.
Test Your Home for Radon
Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is produced by the natural decay of uranium and radium in the soil. Since radon is a gas, it can easily enter homes and other buildings through cracks in the foundation. Inside of homes, radon may become trapped and build up to dangerous levels. Exposure to radon increases your risk of developing lung cancer. Test your home by using a low-cost detection kit.
Dispose of Chemicals Properly
Many common household items contain chemicals that can create environmental hazards if not handled properly. These wastes include old paint, TVs, computer monitors, batteries, fluorescent lights, thermometers and thermostats, waste oil and gasoline, and pesticides.
Mold can grow on interior building surfaces (walls) and furnishings if there is too much moisture. Eventually, mold will damage the materials it is growing on and may cause health concerns. People with asthma or allergies may notice their symptoms worsen. Look for the signs of water damage or excess moisture. Many people want to test their home for mold. In most situations, The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), does not recommend mold testing. Learn more about preventing problems from mold in homes.
Prevent Lead Poisoning
Children under age six are most at risk from lead poisoning because they are more likely to ingest lead and their bodies are developing rapidly. Babies and small children can swallow or breathe in lead from contaminated dirt, dust, or sand while they play on the ground or floor. Even at low levels of exposure, lead can affect a child's learning, behavior and growth. To find out more visit the Minnesota Department of Health website.
Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned by lead. Lead may be found in:
- Paint in some homes older than 1978
- Lead paint dust on window sills or toys, pacifiers, and other objects children may put in their mouth
- Soil, particularly within three feet of the foundation of a house built before 1978
- Water from lead pipes
- Some products such as fishing tackle, jewelry, toys, cosmetics and home remedies may contain lead
Testing for Lead Exposure
Check with your health care provider if you think that your child has a risk for lead exposure. A simple blood test can determine whether your child has been exposed to lead.
Avoid Illness From Food & Water
More than 250 known bacteria, viruses and parasites as well as some natural and manufactured chemicals can spread potentially life-threatening illness through contaminated food or water.