Healthy Homes
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Healthy Homes Regulation

Many factors that affect housing quality can be addressed by changes in policies related to the siting of housing, code enforcement, what building materials to use, and rehabilitation of existing units. Legislative policy has targeted healthy homes issues, yet effectiveness may vary by level of local implementation, enforcement, or funding.  Below are some examples of legislation in California relating to healthy homes issues.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Acts -1986 and 1989
Established the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to reduce childhood lead exposure.
Lead-Safe Housing and Lead Hazards-1992
Deems buildings with lead hazards where a child has been poisoned in violation of state law.
Toxic Mold Protection Act- 2001
Enacted to provide guidelines for mold removal, yet contingent on future funding.
CA Lead Abatement Law- 2002 and 2006
Requires energy efficiency standards - many of which also support healthy homes principles - on some new home construction.
Carbon Monoxide Poison Protection Act- 2010
Requires carbon monoxide detection alarms in homes.
CalGreen Building Code - 2010
Requires energy efficiency standards - many of which also support healthy homes principles - on some new home construction.
Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions of Composite Wood Products— 2011
Restricts formaldehyde emissions in building materials including flooring.
SB488 Substandard Housing: Regulations— 2014
Amendment to allow local code enforcement officers to cite for pest infestations in cities without the services of a Local Health Officer, ensuring that all tenants, regardless of where they live, can have existing laws enforced ensuring their homes are healthy and pest-free.
SB 1167 Vector Control— 2014
Ensures that those cited for pest infestations are not only required to eliminate the pest, but to also remediate any other substandard housing conditions that contribute to the infestation, such as leaky plumbing and cracks and holes in walls and flooring.

Proper enforcement of current housing codes can address many issues that contribute to unhealthy homes. Owners have a responsibility to ensure the property is habitable. It must be fit to live in. In legal terms, "“habitable"” means that the unit is fit for occupation by human beings and that it substantially complies with state and local building and health codes that considerably affect tenants’ health and safety.

Building Codes and Health Codes are there to ensure the quality of buildings people will use, and local jurisdictions then provide inspectors whose job it is to enforce those laws. Typically, cities enforce the building codes, and a county health department enforces the health codes. This may vary by jurisdiction.

For more information on policies and legislation related to healthy homes, visit one of these resources:

Resources