For children, their home is where they feel safe. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The home can have hidden hazards that threaten a child’s health. One of our key visions is to have every child live in a environmentally safe home.
How can we improve kids’ homes?
Lead poisoning is still a problem for Indiana children. What is worse is that the health effects are irreversible but the problem is preventable. If a child is not exposed to lead, then they do not get lead poisoning. Even small amounts of lead can cause learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence; speech, language, and behavior problems; and IQ scores 4-7 points lower than their peers.
Pesticides in the Home
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), studies suggest that 80 percent of most people’s exposure to pesticides occurs inside homes and that an increase of up to a dozen pesticides have been found in the air indoors. The amount of pesticides found in homes can be caused by contaminated soil or dust that floats or is tracked in from outside, stored pesticide containers, and pesticides applied indoors. Some health effects can include irritation to eye, nose, and throat; damage to central nervous system and kidney; and increased risk of cancer. Symptoms may include headache, dizziness, muscular weakness, and nausea. Click here for the EPA website to find out more pesticides in your home.
In recent years there has been increase in the number of bed bug infestations throughout the country. Bed bugs have been found in hotels, schools, day care centers, public transportation and our homes. Whereas they are not known to cause or spread disease, bed bugs are a nuisance pest causing psychological stress, inflamed lesions and sleepless nights. The good news is that with education and diligence bed bug infestations can be eliminated. Here are some resources for schools and home owners to help deal with the problem.
Indiana Healthy Homes Alliance
The Indiana Lead-Safe and Healthy Homes Task Force brings together healthy homes advocates, housing professionals, state and local government professionals and other nonprofits who are working together to improve the condition of housing and children's environmental health in Indiana. A major task of the Alliance is to assist in the planning and implementation of the Improving Kids’ Environment Healthy Homes and Childcare Midwest Conference.
Community Healthy Worker (CHW)Training
Different jobs require individuals to work with their clients in the home environment. Access to the home of a client can be helpful to address unhealthy and unsafe conditions that exist there. IKE and the Indiana Healthy Homes Alliance (IHHA) offer healthy homes training for community healthy workers (CHWs) and anyone who makes home visits to address occupant health and well-being (i.e. promotores de salud, patient liasons, health advocates and case managers). The trainings help them identify problems and suggest solutions that help to increase occupant health.