By Jeanette Joy Fisher
Although Americans spend nearly 40 billion
dollars a year on lawn upkeep, the fact is that they
actually spend nearly 90 percent of their time
indoors. It may be an interesting paradox, but all
that time spent indoors increases their chances of
being injured or made sick by the various health
hazards that exist in many American homes.
Our neighbor took this picture of a young
roadrunner inside her storage building.
It seems even wildlife prefers the indoors!
A report by the Healthy Homes Partnership (HHP), which
is a joint collaboration between the U.S. Departments of
Agriculture (USDA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
and the University of Wisconsin Extension, estimates that
more than 6.5 million Americans were injured by accidents
in their homes. In other cases, people are being made sick
by the very factors that make their homes energy
According to the HHP website,
www.uwex.edu/healthyhome/consumers.html, the HHP study
discovered that a number of the most serious health
problems found in children (especially young children)
actually had their beginnings at home. The site asks
questions about lead in the home, the safety of the home's
tap water, the types of household chemicals being used,
and many others in an attempt to offer parents clues as to
possible danger areas.
Another watchdog group, the Alliance for Healthy Homes (AFHH),
has joined in the call for increased prevention of home
hazards, offering further information about potential
household dangers on their website,
www.afhh.org/index.htm. According to the site,
there is evidence that a number of household factors can
cause or contribute to childhood asthma, including mold,
dust, and various chemicals such as pesticides, asbestos,
carbon monoxide, and radon.
There is evidence that the efforts of such groups are
beginning to pay off, since more and more homes are being
built without the use of certain glues that are known to
produce harmful fumes, plastics, and various laminates.
These types of products were initially introduced to make
products more useful, durable, and efficient, but many of
them have inadvertently caused health problems in
For instance, homes have been made so that the interior is
kept at a relatively constant temperature with very few
pollutants in the air year round. However, there is
evidence to show that such homes may actually contribute
to colds and allergies, since the inhabitants of the home
aren't exposed to temperature variances and a certain
amount of naturally-occurring organic materials that are
in the air during any given season.
Certain chemical additives have made the wood, paint,
paper, and composite materials used in home construction
much more durable, but a number of those additives are
suspected of contributing to various health problems if
inhabitants are exposed to them for a length of time.
If you or your family seems to be experiencing chronic
health problems or an unusual frequency of illness, it may
be your home that's the major contributing factor. In any
case, you'll find it worth your while to visit the HHP and
AFHH websites listed above to gather more details about
the possible health dangers that may exist in your home.
Open your windows and spend time outdoors to ensure a
healthy home life.
Copyright © 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher
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