Healthy Homes

For children, their home is where they feel safe. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The home can have hidden hazards that threaten a child’s health. One of our key visions is to have every child live in a environmentally safe home.

Lead in our Homes

Housing is the MAIN source of Lead Poisoning in Indiana.

Lead is a heavy metal found in the environment that is toxic to humans, more specifically children and pregnant women. Exposure for pregnant women is concerning because it can result in exposure to her unborn child. For unborn or young children, exposure to even small amounts of lead can cause learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence; speech, language, and behavior problems; and IQ scores 4-7 points lower than their peers. Exposure to lead can occur in the home, in the school, or in the community.

Children are most often exposed to lead in contaminated soil or in lead dust from aging lead-based paint from buildings built before 1978. Babies and young children can be exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths. Plumbing can put lead into water, especially pipes and fixtures installed before 2011.  Children and adults may be exposed to lead by eating and drinking from dishes or glasses that contain lead or from playing with toys with lead-based paint. Lead can also be found in ceramics, batteries, and cosmetics.

2020 Lead Report

On November 16, 2020, the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report on lead poisoning and environmental justice in Indiana that includes significant policy recommendations for the Indiana Department of Health and the Indiana General Assembly.

The resources below can help you understand more about lead and how to prevent lead exposure.

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Pesticides in the Home

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most people’s exposure to pesticides occurs inside homes and as many as a dozen pesticides have been found in the air indoors.

The amount of pesticides found in homes can be caused by contaminated soil or dust that floats or is tracked in from outside, stored pesticide containers, and pesticides applied indoors. Health effects can include irritation to eye, nose, and throat; damage to central nervous system and kidney; and increased risk of cancer. Symptoms may include headache, dizziness, muscular weakness, and nausea. Learn more from the EPA on Pesticides.

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Bed Bugs

In recent years there has been increase in the number of bed bug infestations throughout the country.
Bed bugs have been found in hotels, schools, day care centers, public transportation and our homes. Whereas they are not known to cause or spread disease, bed bugs are a nuisance pest causing psychological stress, inflamed lesions and sleepless nights. The good news is that with education and diligence bed bug infestations can be eliminated. Here are some resources for schools and home owners to help deal with the problem.

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Improving Baby’s Environment

If you are thinking about having a child or are already pregnant, be cautious about what you are exposed to in your environment and the products you consume.
During pregnancy when exposure to even the smallest concentration of a chemical could have negative consequences, it is best to develop the mindset that less is more. LESS exposure to potentially harmful substances IS MORE beneficial to you and your baby. Download our Improving Baby's Environment brochure for recommendations designed to help you avoid what might be harmful and find safe alternatives.

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