What does it mean to live in a healthy home?
Environmental hazards in the home can affect the health and safety of those who live there, especially children. These environmental health and safety concerns include mold, lead, allergens, carbon monoxide, home safety, pesticides, radon, tobacco smoke, and more. By preventing, identifying, and addressing these concerns, healthy homes programs seek to provide every Maryland resident with a safe, clean home that supports the health and well-being of the people living there.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes repeated episodes of chest tightness, wheezing, cough, and shortness of breath. Asthma triggers in the home can include allergens, pet dander, pests, mold, tobacco smoke. Learn more about asthma and the Home Visiting Program for Children with Asthma.
Lead poisoning can harm a child’s brain, causing lifelong learning and behavior problems. Lead in the home can be found in deteriorating lead-based paint, toys, jewelry, and other consumer products and may be brought home from some jobs. Learn more about lead poisoning prevention and the Home Visiting Program for Children with Lead Poisoning and the Lead Abatement Funding.
Molds can produce irritants that can exacerbate asthma or cause an allergic response, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. The best way to control mold growth is to address underlying causes of mold growth, especially building moisture and leaks, and properly maintain heating, ventillation, and air conditioning systems. Learn more about mold on the EPA's website.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Unless you test with a radon test kit, you can't tell whether your home has radon, because radon is a gas that has no smell, no color, and can't be seen. Learn more.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a preventable cause of death. Click here to learn what you can do to protect yourself and your family.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke
Secondhand smoke poses risks to infants, children, and adults. Learn more about Maryland’s Clean Indoor Air Act and the health risks of tobacco smoke from the CDC and EPA.
Safe Drinking Water
Every Marylander depends on access to clean, safe drinking water. Whether your home is part of a public water system or uses a well, learn more about issues that can affect drinking water quality. Learn more about what the Department of the Environment is doing to protect your water supply.
Children's Environmental Health
Children are often at a higher risk of exposure to environmental hazards in the home. This can be due to being closer to the floor (where dust, allergens, paint flakes, and other debris collect) or hand-to-mouth behaviors. Pound for pound, children also breathe more air, drink more fluids, and eat more food than adults do. Because children are still developing, children may be more vulnerable to these environmental exposures as well. Some of MDH's other programs that work to improve children's environmental health include:
Maryland has restrictions on certain types of products that are made with chemicals that may be harmful to health, such as some flame-retardant chemicals and pesticides. Some consumer products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can affect your indoor air quality. Learn more here.
Keep your family safe around the home by:
- Preventing access to pools when not in use,
- Store chemicals and cleaning products in a secured location,
- Keep firearms locked and stored away from children, and
- Reduce the likelihood of falls (see more).