Healthy Home, Healthy Family

There are many things you can do to make your home healthy.  A healthy home translates into better health for your family - as well as the environment.  Here's 10 ways you can make your house healthy, courtesy of the US Environmental Protection Agency:

   1. Clear the air.  Take the smoke-free pledge. Choose not to smoke in your home and do not permit others to do so. Small children are especially vulnerable to the health effects of secondhand smoke. Choose to smoke outside, if you must smoke. Moving to another room or opening a window is not enough to protect your children.

   2. Air quality.  Listen to local forecasts for ozone, smog and particulate matter. When levels are high, limit your outdoor activities.

   3. Rid your house of radon. January is National Radon Action MonthTest the level of radon gas in your home with a radon test kit. If the test result is 4pCi/L or higher, takes steps to reduce radon.

   4. Some household products are toxic. Use with caution! Look for alternatives to pesticides and household chemicals. If you must use them, always read the label and follow directions exactly. Always store them in high locked cabinets and in their original containers.

   5. Check for carbon monoxide.  Check that all potential sources of carbon monoxide, such as space heaters and wood stoves, are well-vented and in proper working order. Never idle the car or lawnmower in the garage, or use propane heaters in tents!

   6. Water, water everywhere.   Know the quality of your drinking water. If you have a private drinking water well, test it periodically.

   7. Get the lead out.  Avoid potential sources of lead. If your home was built before 1978, have your home tested for lead paint. When remodeling or doing home repairs, be careful that you do not create lead dust. Keep children visiting your home away from lead hazards.

   8. Keep mercury from rising.  Limit your intake of specific types of fish with high levels of mercury. Have a mercury-free home-find alternatives to mercury thermometers or mercury used for cultural or spiritual practices.

   9. Too much sun is not much fun. Cover up, use SPF 15 or higher sun screen, and stay out of the midday sun to avoid damaging UV rays. Talk about the weather. Make a plan for temperature extremes-keep food, fluids and clothing stocked for extreme cold or heat, think of public places to go to escape the extreme temperatures, and identify who you can call for help if you need it.

  10. Wash your hands of it.  Keep the dirt outside. Remove shoes at the door. Wash your hands to keep dirt that might be contaminated with lead, and pesticides off you and your kids.