Healthy Homes

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.

Lead Poisoning

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.

Most sources of lead exposure to children have been dramatically reduced. But we have a legacy that must be addressed – the legacy of deteriorating lead-based paint. And with 10-15 percent of children in some Indiana neighborhoods having elevated blood lead levels, the problem must be addressed. Most of IKE’s work has been through the Lead-Safe Indiana Task Force, which it formed in September of 1999.

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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. Go to the EPA web page on Pesticides.

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Bed Bugs

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.

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Community Health Worker Training

Healthy Homes for Community Health Workers Video Training Series

Topics include: Keep it Dry, Keep it Clean, Keep it Pest-Free, Keep it Safe, Keep it Contaminant-Free, Keep it Ventilated, Maintained and Temperature Controlled, and Identifying and Managing Asthma Triggers and Lead Hazards
Click here for videos.

Employers can use Community Health Workers to provide helpful and cost-effective home visits to address specific diseases like asthma or diabetes. IKE, IHHA and the Indiana Joint Asthma Coalition with technical support from the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative have developed an Employer Guide to assist with utilizing community health workers to combat asthma. Click here for the guide.

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Improving Baby’s Environment

If you are thinking about having a child or are already pregnant, be cautious about what you are exposed to in your environment and the products you consume.

During pregnancy when exposure to even the smallest concentration of a chemical could have negative consequences, it is best to develop the mindset that less is more. LESS exposure to potentially harmful substances IS MORE beneficial to you and your baby. Download our Improving Baby’s Environment brochure for recommendations designed to help you avoid what might be harmful and find safe alternatives.

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