National Center for Healthy Housing

Columbia, MD, United States

National Center for Healthy Housing

Columbia, MD, United States
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News Article | April 17, 2017

Mold can strike any home in any climate. It's important for homeowners and renters to know the dangers of mold, how to test for mold, and how to safely remove it from a home according to Healthful Home Products. ​​​​​​​​​​Mold problems can strike any home in any climate. Household mold poses a serious health hazard, especially for children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. That’s why it’s important for renters and homeowners to be aware of mold risks, how to test for mold, and how to safely remove mold once it’s found. Mold is a broad term for certain kinds of fungi that grow in damp places. In closed, humid environments, mold thrives and quickly spreads. As it grows, mold releases millions of tiny spores into the air, and these spores can be harmful if breathed in. While no mold is deemed safe, over 30 identified species of indoor mold are identified as toxic, wreaking havoc on the body’s cells—particularly in the lungs, throat and sinuses. Mold exposure has been linked to asthma, allergic reactions, nervous-system disorders, and chronic sinusitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold exposure can also lead to skin, throat and eye irritation, and it can interfere with the body’s ability to fight off diseases. For sensitive individuals, even small amounts of mold exposure can trigger serious health problems, sometimes requiring hospitalization. "A National Center for Healthy Housing study revealed that 35 million homes in the U.S. have mold and other indoor air quality issues," said Ron Herrmann, National Sales Manager for Healthful Home Products. "To be safe, everyone should test for mold at least once a year with the 5-minute Mold Mold Test." Causes and Signs of Mold Widespread mold problems make headlines in hurricane-prone areas, but they can strike in drier regions, too. Common causes of mold include sewage backup, cracked or broken water pipes, flood damage, water damage from a leaky roof, and poor ventilation in bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements Sometimes mold is easy to spot. Usually, however, mold lurks in hard-to-see places such as behind drywall, in the seams of cabinets, or under the fridge. Common signs of mold in the home include: A mold test is required to determine if toxic mold is present in a home. Until recently, do-it-yourself mold test kits needed to be sent to a lab (often requiring an extra fee), and results were not available for weeks. Fortunately, a new mold test called 5-Minute Mold Test Kit from Healthful Home displays results in minutes. Using a small sample of household dust from the floor, cabinet or other surface, this test kit can detect the presence of over 32 different types of harmful mold spores including black molds (while ignoring harmless molds like mildew). The 5-Minute Mold Test Kit is the only fast-acting DIY mold test kit on the market, and it has been licensed by the CDC. The kit lists for $44.99. After harmful mold has been detected, it’s possible to clean up many mold problems without the help of a professional. For localized mold issues, Healthful Home’s eco-friendly Mold and Bacteria Cleaner starts killing mold right away, and the mold-fighting effects can last for up to 6 months. It’s odorless, safe to use around children and pets, and 100% biodegradable. The product lists for $21.99. For a more widespread mold problem, Fog-U Mold is a fast and extremely effective way to treat an entire room. Like the Mold and Bacteria Cleaner, it contains the same all-natural ingredients and keeps working for months. It’s ideal for hard-to-reach places like crawl spaces and ventilation systems, and it even treats carpets and upholstery. The product lists for $21.99. All Healthful Home products can be found exclusively at Ace Hardware. For more information, visit Once mold is identified, don’t forget that it is important to fix the source of the problem--whether it’s a poorly ventilated laundry room or bad water damage. Once the problem is fixed, improve air circulation and reduce indoor humidity to make sure the mold doesn’t have a chance to come back. Editors, writers and bloggers are invited to visit for additional information and photos.

Brown M.J.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Jacobs D.E.,National Center for Healthy Housing
Public Health Reports | Year: 2011

Objectives. We examined the relationship between self-reported inadequate residential natural light and risk for depression or falls among adults aged 18 years or older. Methods. Generalized estimating equations were used to calculate the odds of depression or falls in participants with self-reported inadequate natural residential light vs. those reporting adequate light (n?6,017) using data from the World Health Organization's Large Analysis and Review of European Housing and Health Survey, a large cross-sectional study of housing and health in representative populations from eight European cities. Results. Participants reporting inadequate natural light in their dwellings were 1.4 times (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2,1.7) as likely to report depression and 1.5 times (95% CI 1.2, 1.9) as likely to report a fall compared with those satisfied with their dwelling's light. After adjustment for major confounders, the likelihood of depression changed slightly, while the likelihood of a fall increased to 2.5 (95% CI 1.5, 4.2). Conclusion. Self-reported inadequate light in housing is independently associated with depression and falls. Increasing light in housing, a relatively inexpensive intervention, may improve two distinct health conditions. © 2011 Association of Schools of Public Health.

Korfmacher K.S.,University of Rochester | Ayoob M.,Albany Research Center | Morley R.,National Center for Healthy Housing
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2012

Background: Significant progress has been made in reducing the incidence of childhood lead poisoning in the United States in the past three decades. However, the prevalence of elevated blood lead in children (≥ 10 μg/dL) remains high in some communities, particularly those with high proportions of pre-1978 housing in poor condition. Increasingly, municipalities are using local policy tools to reduce lead poisoning in high-risk areas, but little is known about the effectiveness of such policies. Objectives: In this article, we evaluated the effectiveness of a comprehensive rental housing-based lead law adopted in Rochester, New York, in 2005. Methods: This policy evaluation integrates analyses of city inspections data, a survey of landlords, landlord focus groups, and health department data on children's blood lead levels from the first 4 years of implementation of the 2005 law. Results: Implementation has proceeded consistent with projected numbers of inspections with nearly all target units inspected in the first 4 years. Higher than expected inspection passage rates suggest that landlords have reduced lead hazards in rental housing affected by the law. Implementation of the lead law does not appear to have had a significant impact on the housing market. Conclusions: Although many uncertainties remain, our analysis suggests that the lead law has had a positive impact on children's health. Strong enforcement, support for community-based lead programs, and ongoing intergovernmental coordination will be necessary to maintain lead-safe housing in Rochester. Lessons learned from the Rochester experience may inform future local lead poisoning prevention policies in other communities.

Gottesfeld P.,Occupational Knowledge International | Jacobs D.E.,National Center for Healthy Housing
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

Turner's paper emphasizes “oral bioaccessibility” instead of focusing solely on total lead content. There is no evidence that solubility testing for lead levels in paint correlates with absorption or blood lead levels in exposed children. There are many considerations in determining exposure hazards to paint that are not evaluated in assessing solubility. Although we strongly support the conclusions and recommendations of the study, we are concerned that by reporting “oral bioaccessibility” others will focus on solubility in developing regulatory standards for lead levels in paint or in conducting exposure assessments. Standards for lead in paint should continue to be based on total lead content, not “oral bioaccessibility.” © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Neltner T.,National Center for Healthy Housing
Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP | Year: 2010

Recognizing the need to build a cadre of health care and housing professionals prepared to make homes healthier, in 2003, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development launched the National Healthy Homes Training Center and Network (Training Center). Through a competitive process, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention selected the National Center for Healthy Housing to host and manage the Training Center. The Training Center has flourished with additional support from US Environmental Protection Agency. The training incorporates interventions known to be most effective and helps to disseminate best practices. By 2010, it: developed a curriculum of 8 courses including 1 online course; trained more than 6500 people; credentialed more than 380 people as Healthy Homes specialists; delivered more than 220 one- or two-day trainings in 40 states; grew from 5 to 25 state or regional training partners covering 40 states; and created an extensive Web site of resources at

Nevin R.,National Center for Healthy Housing
Energy Policy | Year: 2010

This paper describes an energy-efficient housing stimulus strategy that can: (1) quickly provide large-scale job creation; (2) reduce home energy bills by 30-50% with associated reductions in emissions and energy assistance spending; (3) stabilize home values and reduce foreclosure inventory; (4) help to eliminate childhood lead poisoning; and (5) implement regulatory reforms that highlight market incentives for cost effective energy efficiency and alternative home energy investments. These benefits, far in excess of costs, can be achieved by combining "lead-safe window replacement" with other weatherization activities and simple regulatory and market reforms. This strategy can help to coordinate American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for energy efficiency, the $75 billion Making Home Affordable plan to reduce foreclosures, and the recently announced partnership between the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to streamline weatherization efforts and spur job creation. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Breysse J.,National Center for Healthy Housing | Dixon S.,National Center for Healthy Housing | Gregory J.,King County Housing Authority | Jacobs D.E.,National Center for Healthy Housing | Krieger J.,Public Health Seattle and King County
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2014

Objectives: We assessed the benefits of adding weatherization-plus-health interventions to an in-home, community health worker (CHW) education program on asthma control. Methods: Weusedaquasi-experimentaldesigntocompare studygroup homes (n = 34) receiving CHW education and weatherization-plus-health structural interventions with historical comparison group homes (n = 68) receiving only education. Data were collected in King County, Washington, from October 2009 to September 2010. Results: Over the 1-year study period, the percentage of study group children with not-well-controlled or very poorly controlled asthma decreased more than the comparison group percentage (100% to 28.8% vs 100% to 51.6%; P =.04). Study group caregiver quality-of-life improvements exceeded comparison group improvements (P =.002) by 0.7 units, a clinically important difference. The decrease in study home asthma triggers (evidence of mold, water damage, pests, smoking) was marginally greater than the comparison group decrease (P =.089). Except for mouse allergen, the percentage of study group allergen floor dust samples at or above the detection limit decreased, although most reductions were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Combining weatherization and healthy home interventions (e.g., improved ventilation, moisture and mold reduction, carpet replacement, and plumbing repairs) with CHW asthma education significantly improves childhood asthma control.

Jacobs D.E.,National Center for Healthy Housing | Jacobs D.E.,University of Illinois at Chicago
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2011

The physical infrastructure and housing make human interaction possible and provide shelter. How well that infrastructure performs and which groups it serves have important implications for social equity and health. Populations in inadequate housing are more likely to have environmental diseases and injuries. Substantial disparities in housing have remained largely unchanged. Approximately 2.6 million (7.5%) non-Hispanic Blacks and 5.9 million Whites (2.8%) live in substandard housing. Segregation, lackofhousing mobility, and homelessness are all associated with adverse health outcomes. Yet the experience with childhood lead poisoning in the United States has shown that housing-related disparities can be reduced. Effective interventions should be implemented to reduce environmental health disparities related to housing.

Jacobs D.E.,National Center for Healthy Housing
Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP | Year: 2010

Subject matter experts systematically reviewed evidence on the effectiveness of specific housing interventions in improving health. The panelists reviewed housing interventions associated with exposure to biological and chemical agents, structural injury hazards, and community-level interventions. Intervention studies were grouped together according to recommendations in the Guide to Community Preventive Services, which identifies similarities in the type of intervention, its delivery and setting, and the target population. Review panelists found that 11 interventions had sufficient evidence of effectiveness, 15 required more field evaluation, 19 needed formative research, and 7 either had no evidence of effectiveness or were ineffective. Although many housing conditions are associated with adverse health outcomes, sufficient evidence now shows that specific housing interventions can improve certain health outcomes. The results of these evidence reviews can inform a robust agenda for widespread implementation and further research. This article highlights the project's research methods and summary findings, and its companion articles detail the evidence reviews for specific housing interventions.

Lindberg R.A.,National Center for Healthy Housing
Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP | Year: 2010

A panel of subject matter experts systematically reviewed evidence linking neighborhood-level housing interventions, such as housing programs or policies, to health outcomes. One of the 10 interventions reviewed--the Housing Choice Voucher Program--had sufficient evidence for implementation or expansion. The evidence showed that voucher holders are less likely to suffer from overcrowding, malnutrition due to food insecurity, and concentrated neighborhood poverty than non-voucher holders. Of the other reviewed interventions, 2 needed more field evaluation and 7 needed more formative research. None were determined to be ineffective. Although many of the reviewed interventions lacked sufficient evidence for widespread implementation solely based on their health benefits, this evidence review shows that many interventions positively affect other areas of social, economic, and environmental well-being. Efforts to improve neighborhood environments and to maintain and increase the number of affordable housing units are critical to ensuring safe, healthy, and affordable housing for all people in the United States. Given that people of color disproportionately reside in high-poverty neighborhoods, neighborhood-level interventions may be particularly important in efforts to eliminate health disparities.

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