Health and safety in the home are influenced by many factors, such as:
- building materials used to construct and maintain the house
- resident behavior
- income level
- age of the house
- the house's immediate surroundings.
Hazards that may be found in housing in all neighborhoods are:
- environmental tobacco smoke
exposure to substances such as:
- radon gas
- household cleaning products
- allergens such as dust mites
- hazards such as clutter and poor lighting related to unintentional falls
- carbon monoxide from poorly ventilated combustion.
These hazards can cause a multitude of illnesses and negative health effects including:
- asthma attacks
- lung cancer
- lung disease
The Tracking Network maintains data and information for only two of many common hazards: lead and carbon monoxide.
Lead was commonly added to residential paint in houses built before 1950. At that time the lead content in paint was as high as 50% by weight. This practice caused lead poisoning of millions of children, mainly in low-income families. Although lead-based paint was banned for use in housing in 1978, homes and other buildings constructed before the ban may still contain lead-based paint. Whether these homes are renovated, or the paint simply deteriorates, these older homes pose a threat to children living in them.
Read more about childhood lead poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous waste gas produced when fuel is burned. Unsafe levels of carbon monoxide may be caused by the following actions:
- using poorly maintained or unvented heating equipment
- running vehicles in garages or other enclosed spaces
- using a gas stove or oven to heat the home
- clogged chimneys or blocked heating exhaust vents
- running generators or gas-powered tools in enclosed areas or near windows, doors, or vents
- using a propane camp stove, heater, or light inside a tent
- being near boat engine exhaust outlets
- improperly vented natural gas appliances like stoves or water heaters
- house or building fires
- cooking with a charcoal or gas grill inside the home or other enclosure
Radon Task Force, Environmental Public Health Tracking ProgramTop of Page