About Healthy Housing
A healthy home is comfortable and safe, and any contaminants in the air and on surfaces are below levels that could harm the occupants. You could have many kinds of mineral, chemical, or biological contaminants in your house from many sources. We will discuss here only potential contaminants in indoor air. We will not discuss contaminants in other forms that can make a house less healthy, such as lead in paint, pollutants in drinking water, outdoor air pollutants, poor lighting, poor ventilation, or noise but that does not mean these are not important.
*Note: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a web site with a broad range of healthy home information. The topics we cover here are generally included on the CDC web site, within their topic of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Their site also has information on rodents, fire hazards, medicines, chemicals, pesticides, drowning, and electrical hazards.
*Additional information on Healthy Homes is available from the National Center for Healthy Housing.
Problems That Can Make a Home Unhealthy
Below is a list of some key problems that can prevent the air in a home from being healthy. Some listed problems link to a page with more information and also additional links for detailed information.
- Carbon monoxide
- Tobacco smoke (environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or secondhand smoke)
Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), including pesticides, plasticizers, and fire retardants
Sources of organic chemicals
- Building materials used in house construction (that is, formaldehyde, glues, chalks, paints and coatings, plasticizers)
- Renovation, remodeling, painting, refinishing, or paint stripping
- Repair or maintenance
- Contents, furnishings, or equipment (that is, formaldehyde, glues, chalks, paints and coatings, plasticizers, fire retardants)
- Combustion appliances or combustion processes
- Cleaning products
- Hobby materials or activities
- Vehicles or stored fuel (in attached garages)