The Surgeon General defines Healthy Homes as dwellings that are sited, designed, built, renovated, and maintained in ways that support the health of residents. The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) estimates that people spend at least 50% of their time each day inside their home, suggesting that the condition of the home is a factor in a person's well-being.
The connection between housing and health is well established. Common hazards inside the home can be a major influence on health and well-being, and are found in homes in all neighborhoods.
Hazards that may be found in homes in all neighborhoods include exposure to substances such as:
- radon gas
- household cleaning products
- carbon monoxide from poorly ventilated combustion
- environmental tobacco smoke
- allergens such as dust mites
- hazards such as clutter and poor lighting
These hazards can cause a variety of illnesses and negative health effects including:
- asthma attacks
- lung cancer
- lung disease
Health and safety in the home are influenced by many factors, such as:
- income level
- age of the house
- building materials used to construct and maintain the house
- resident behavior
- the house's immediate surroundings
Tracking exposures in the home and related health problems can help individuals, communities, researchers, and public health officials to understand how living conditions impact health and identify ways to promote healthier housing. These data can also help doctors, researchers, and public health officials understand how our homes can be improved to help us stay healthy.