A consortium of federal agencies announced today a new initiative for “healthy housing.”
Called Advancing Healthy Housing – A Strategy for Action, the joint action plan hopes to develop and implement recommendations to make homes safer, to educate the public, and to persuade homeowners to take steps to make their own housing safer. The group also will support training and development for personnel within industries that could address issues of home environmental safety. Finally, they are looking to collaborate and support research on “cost-effective” measures to create or remediate existing housing stock into healthier homes. The federal government already provides funds to state and local governments for some prevention programs.
The agencies involved are the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Surgeon General, and the Department of Energy.
Given that “people spend about 70 percent of their time in a home,” problems with construction or disrepair like leaking pipes, lead, pests, and plumbing or electrical deficiencies can all create significant health hazards for homeowners, their families and guests. The consortium estimates “over 30 million U.S. homes (are) placing occupants at risk for potential illnesses and injuries.”
Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, explained, “Healthy homes and communities are essential to our quality of life, our productivity, and our economic vitality. Through this plan, Federal agencies have committed to working together to make sure all Americans can count on safe, healthy places to live, grow, and thrive.”