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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), poor indoor air quality is the 4th leading environmental threat nationwide.
Pollutants can be found in concentrations 2-5 times higher indoors than outdoors and they are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes.
Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home.
High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.
Some of these pollutants include radon, carbon monoxide, environmental tobacco smoke (second hand smoke), mold and moisture etc.
Since young children spend nearly 80%-90% of their time inside they are most vulnerable to the adverse health effects of poor indoor air quality. Futhermore, children breathe more air for their size than adults do and so they receive a higher dose of pollutants in comparison with adults.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is present in soil.
According to the EPA, Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., responsible for 21,000 deaths every year.
Although the U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend that all homes be
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tested, only a few states have passed laws requiring testing. There are no Federal or Oklahoma laws that require radon tests
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established an action level of 4 Pico Curies per liter (pCi/L) of air at which mitigation of radon is recommended.
No state level mortality or morbidity data for radon is available in Oklahoma. However, according to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, there are 5 counties where all the homes tested to date have an average indoor radon level greater than the EPA established action level of 4 pCi/L of air.
How is Radon Associated with Healthy Homes Principles?
Keep it Ventilated: A well ventilated home reduces the concentration of radon under safe limits.
Keep it Contaminant free: A home can be kept radon free by following the EPA- recommended home testing guidelines.
Keep it maintained: Keep a home well maintained by ensuring that there are no cracks in floors or walls or other openings that allow radon gas to migrate from the soil into the structure.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless,
tasteless toxic gas produced by the incomplete
combustion of gas oil or wood. Any malfunctioning fuel burning a
Car exhaust is another source of CO exposOKLAHOMA HEALTHY HOMES INITIATIVE
• No standards for CO have been agreed upon for indoor air. The U.S.
ational Ambient Air Quality Standards for outdoor air are 9 parts per million (ppm) for 8 hours, and 35 ppm for 1 hour. •According to the EPA, average levels of
aries from 0.5 to 5 ppm. Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are often 5 to 15 ppm and those near poorly adjusted stoves may be 30 ppm or higher. • Every year, CO poisoning accounts for more than 500 deaths a
pproximately 15,000 hospital emergency departments visits. • In Oklahoma, between 1994 and 2003, 291 (29 every year) c
elated deaths occurred. 47% of all CO poisoning deaths occurred from a source inside the home.
• Keep it Ventilated: If bathrooms, clothes dryers, kitchen ranges, boilers,
urnaces, hot water heaters, fire places, wood burning stoves etc. are not well ventilated, this could result in CO buildup inside the home. • Keep it Safe: Occupants can be alerted CO hazards in the h
attery operated CO detectors. • Keep it Maintained: If fuel-bu
erforming regular inspections and repairs, then a CO buildup inside the home could result.
s the combination of sidestream smoke (the smoke given off by the burning end of a tobacco product) and OKLAHOMA HEALTHY HOMES INITIATIVE
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• According to the EPA and the American Lung Asapproximately 53,800 Americans die from secondhand sm
In Oklahoma, 700 people die every year from secondhand smoke. • The EPA, the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), the U
eneral, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer
ave classified secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). Of the more than 4,000 chemicals that have been identified in secondhand tobacco smoke, 50 are known to cause cancer. • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, colds, pneumoni
ronchitis, and more severe asthma. • According to the EPA, the developing lungs of young children are severely affected by ETS. It is responsible for:
increases in the number of asth
between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections (for children under 18 months of age); and,
respiratory tract infections resulting in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations each year.
How is Environmental Tobacco Smoke Associated with Healthy Homes Principles? • Keep it Ventilated: A well ventilated home may not completely eliminate
ETS exposure. However, it would reduce the concentration of ETS.
Keep it Contaminant Free: Keeping the home smoke-free by smoking outside and not smoking around children reduces the exposure to ET
in the structural damage but also affect the health of resi
dents by providing an environment conducive to the
und both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through
heating and air conditioning systems.
an also be a source of moisture leading to mold growth. • Common sites for indoor mold growth include bathroom tareas around windows where moisture condenses, anfountains or sinks.
ile, basement walls,
In 2004, the Institute of Medicine published the report "Damp Indoor Spaces & Health." The report identified adverse health effects related to damp indoor environments and the presence of mold. Some of these health effects included upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing,
ymptoms, hypersensitivity pneumonitis etc. • There is no state or federal data avaliable on mold.
ow is Mold and Moisture Associated with Healthy Homes Principles? • Keep it Dry: It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. The key to mold control is moisture control. • Keep it Ventiliaed: Ventilating shower, laundry
inimize mold growth.
roofs, windows, and pipes.
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