Is Your Home Safe and Healthy?

Country home with a windmill

A healthy home is designed and maintained to protect those in your home from a variety of environmental hazards. Make sure that conditions in your home are safe for you and those who visit your home.

 

Below are many helpful resources listed by topic that can help you have a healthy home. Topics include: Asbestos Fibers, Asthma Triggers, Injuries, Pests, Fires, Lead Paint, Household Poisons, Radon Gas, and Contaminated Water. Also see General Information and Wisconsin Community Action Agencies for home energy and other housing assistance.

Click on the categories below to learn more about some common "healthy home" topics.


Asbestos Fibers

Asbestos fibers

Asbestos is used in heating insulation, pipe wrap, floor tiles, slate siding, slate shingles, and ceiling tiles. Vermiculite insulation contains asbestos and is also commonly found in attics. Hire a certified asbestos contractor to contain or remove asbestos materials.

 

More information from the Wisconsin DHS Asbestos Program

Asthma Triggers

Girl uses an inhaler

Cockroaches, mold, dust mites, pet dander, and environmental tobacco smoke are common asthma triggers found in the home. Take steps in your home to avoid or reduce exposure to these triggers.

 

More information from the Wisconsin DHS Asthma Program
More information on Air Quality Issues

Injuries

Common causes of injury in the home include slip, trip, and fall hazards such as slippery floors and bathtubs, poor lighting, and lack of handrails and baby gates on stairways. Take steps in your home to prevent injuries.

More information from Wisconsin DHS Injury Prevention Program

Pests

Close-up photo of a tick

Common household pests include cockroaches, ants, rodents, and bed bugs. Control pests by using safe practices such as non-toxic baits and traps, copper mesh barriers, sealing cracks and holes, sealing all food containers and removing trash regularly.

 

More information on pests from:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- Integrated Pest Management and How Residents Can Control Pests
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- What is Integrated Pest Management?
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)- About Integrated Pest Management and Safe Pest Control Handout
University of Wisconsin Extension- Start an IPM Plan For Your Home
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)- Safe Way to Control Pests Around Your Home

Fires

Building structure engulfed by fire

Many household fires and burns are caused by faulty electrical wiring, candles or lit cigarettes left unattended, improper location of space heaters, and cooking grease fires. Make sure your home has a working fire extinguisher and smoke alarms, and your family has a fire escape plan.

 

More information on fires from:
CDC- Home and Recreational Safety
National Fire Protection Association
US Consumer Product Safety Commission

Lead in Paint and other Household Products

Close-up of flaking lead paint

Young children exposed to lead from chipping and peeling paint can experience reduced IQ and attention span, learning disabilities, developmental delays, and a range of other health and behavioral problems. If your home was built before 1978, test your paint and have your child tested for lead.

 

More information from the Wisconsin DHS Lead Program

Household Poisons

Smiling baby sitting with cleaning products

Household poisonings include exposure to carbon monoxide gas, household cleaning products, solvents, and pesticides. Prevent exposure by proper storage, usage, and ventilation.

 

More information from:
EPA- What is a Toxic Substance?
National Capital Poison Center- Household Poisons
Cleveland Clinic- Household Chemicals Chart

Radon Gas

Chemical symbol for Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas in the soil that can seep into your home through cracks in concrete. Radon can cause lung cancer. Know your radon gas level by testing your home.

 

More information from the Wisconsin DHS Radon Program

Water Quality

Filled water glass against outdoor background

Your drinking water supply should be free of bacteria, heavy metals, and chemicals such as nitrates and arsenic. Know what's in your water.

 

More information on water quality issues
Flooding in Wisconsin

General Healthy Homes Resources

More information from Wisconsin DHS:
Health Tips For Your Home
Healthy Yards (PDF,  315 KB)
Climate and Health- Information on various climate issues including: drought, flooding, and extreme heat and cold
Healthy Homes Poster (PDF, 661KB) (also available in Spanish and Hmong, and in English in a JPG format)- This 17 inch by 24 inch poster was originally designed to be used in doctors' offices. However, it could be used in a variety of settings, including schools, day cares, public health department offices and clinics, or community centers.

More information from Non-DHS sources:
National Center for Healthy Housing- Homepage
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)- Homepage and Healthy Homes Program Guidance Manual
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- Healthy Homes Homepage
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- Health and Safety Page
U.S. Department of Energy- Weatherization Plus Health Initiative

 

Wisconsin Community Action Programs

Wisconsin Community Action Program Association - Assistance with home energy concerns
The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program
Project Home - A non-profit serving Dane and Green Counties

 

Back to Environmental Health Home

Last Revised: March 24, 2015