The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) commends Acting Surgeon General Galson for issuing that office’s first-ever Call to Action on Healthy Homes. “It’s inconceivable that as many as six million American families live in conditions that rival those of developing countries,” said Rebecca Morley, NCHH Executive Director, “but data from every state show how our most vulnerable households live without working plumbing or heat, or sleep nightly in rooms infested with mice, mold, or rats.” The Surgeon General’s Call to Action lays out clear, straightforward steps that families, property managers, nonprofit groups, and policymakers can take to create a healthier home environment.
NCHH will support this Call to Action by continuing to highlight hazards in the home environment, educate property owners and residents about ways to maintain healthy homes, and advocate with developers, building managers, contractors, insurance companies, and policymakers to take the remedial actions necessary to create healthier and safer homes for all of their residents.
“This Call to Action reinforces the need for federal action,” Morley added. Thus, NCHH will fight for Senator Jack Reed’s (D-RI) Healthy and Safe Housing Act of 2009 when he reintroduces it shortly. It’s why NCHH just held the first National Healthy Housing Summit, where we brought together CEOs from leading organizations in housing, public health, and environmental health to identify the best policies, programs, and practices we can all promote to create healthier housing. It’s why leaders in the foundation community, like the Home Depot Foundation, the California Endowment, Kellogg Foundation, and Kresge Foundation, have begun investing in innovative programs to create healthy homes.
A healthy home is designed, constructed, maintained, or rehabilitated to support the health of its residents by reducing their exposure to serious hazards, including lead paint, mold, falls, radon, fires, airborne toxins, pests, allergens, carbon monoxide, and many others. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk because of the amount of time they spend inside the home and their added vulnerability. Providing healthier housing in the U.S. will help prevent an estimated 240,000 elevated blood lead levels, 18,000 unintentional deaths by injury, and 2 million emergency room visits for asthma.
To learn more about the Call to Action, please click here.