4Why should I be concerned about indoor air quality? Asthma and AllergiesMoldCarbon MonoxideRadonChemicalsLead dust
5What might cause my indoor air quality to suffer? Things people do or store in their homes:Tobacco SmokePetsHobbies and Home projectsHousehold projectsNew furniture, carpetLead paint
6How do I know I need to test my home’s indoor air quality? Does anyone in your home have known allergies or asthma diagnoses? Chronic bronchitis? Lung disease?Do they notice coughing, burning eyes or sneezing that happens most at home?If YES:Examine potential behaviors and hazards that you can control to help lessen these symptoms.
7What have you observed in your home? Do some areas smell damp or musty?Does it seem stuffy or stale?Does your bathroom or kitchen lack exhaust fans? Are they used?Have you ever seen cockroaches in your home?If YES:Your home may contain mold (we will discuss later).Use exhaust fans.Clean up spills right away. A clean home is a healthy home.
8What do you allow in your home? Smoking?Furry pets?Hobbies or projects that create dust or odors?Household products?If YES:Do not smoke in your home or car. NEVER smoke near your children. Second hand smoke is extremely unsafe for childrenFurry pets out of bedrooms and living areas prevent allergic irritation.Open windows, use fans if someone uses chemicals in the home or garage.Follow all safety information on household products.
9What about home improvements? Are you considering new furniture or carpet?Are there new building materials in your home?If YES:Ask salesperson to unroll carpet and air it out for at least one day before bringing it into your home.Let new furniture and building materials air out for a few days before bringing them inside.Non-toxic or green products may cost more, but may be safer in protecting your family.
10When should I test for radon? Radon is a cancer-causing, natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste.Do any of your neighbor’s have problems with radon?Have you neglected to test for radon?If YES:Test your home. Hardware or home supply stores carry low-cost radon testing kits. If your neighbors have a radon problem, you may too.
11When in Doubt, Check It Out! Indoor Air QualityThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Indoor Air Quality Home Page—Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse (800) M-F 8:00am to 5:00pm ET orNational Radon Information Hotline (800) SOS-RADON ((800) )The National Consumer Federation’s Radon Website—National Lead Information Center (800)424-LEAD ((800)National Hispanic Indoor Air Quality Hotline (800) SALUD-12 ((800) ), M-F 9:00am to 6:00pm ETAmerican Lung Association (800) LUNG-USA ((800) ) –Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes (406) —Home*A*Syst: An Environmental Risk Assessment Guide for the Home (608) —
13What in my home can cause an asthma attack? Attacks are often triggered by things that people are allergic to.Common Asthma Triggers:Dander (skin flakes from cats, dogs, and other pets)Pests such as roaches, rodents, or dust mites (tiny insects that live in carpets, furniture, etc.)Cigarette smokeMoldDustCarbon MonoxideCleaning productsHair spray or Perfume
14When might my home be a risk for asthma attacks and allergies? Does someone in your family notice burning eyes, coughing, or sneezing that happens most at home?Does your home have carpet that is not cleaned well or not cleaned often?How often do you wash bedding?Do you keep pets inside?Has it been more than a year since you have had your furnace, flues, and chimney inspected and cleaned?Is your home damp and musty?Does anyone smoke inside?
15What actions can you take? Healthy HousekeepingClean home often.Keep clutter down.Control Other PestsSeal food, clean crumbs and spills, empty garbage often, wash dirty dishes right after eating, fix plumbing leaks, seal cracks where pests can get in.PetsCheck Your AppliancesSmoke outsideMold
16When in Doubt, Check It Out! Asthma and AllergiesYou local county Extension Office –look in your telephone book.Your local or state health department –look in your telephone book.American Lung Association, (800)LUNG-USA –The Soap and Detergent Association, Cleaning to Control Allergies and Asthma, (202) —Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes (406) —The Allergy & Asthma Network: Mothers of Asthmatics (800) —The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) (800) —The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Asthma and Indoor Environments—
18What is mold and why should I worry about it? Mold is alive. It grows on wet or damp surfaces.Often is grey or black, but can be white, orange, or greenOften smells mustyIs also called mildewIt produces spores, tiny specks that float through the air. These can cause health problems when you breath them in to your lungs.It is not healthy to live where mold is growing.
19Where might I find mold in my home? In bathrooms, especially around the shower or tubIn wet or damp basements and crawl spacesAround leaky sinksIn attics under leaking roofsOn wet clothes that are not dried quicklyWindows and walls wherecondensation collectsIn closetsUnder wallpaper and carpetIn your air conditioner
20When might moisture become a risk for mold? Does anyone use a humidifier?Has any part of your home been flooded? Experienced an overflow?Does any part of your home leak?Can you see moisture anywhere inside?Do you see color changes on floors or walls that you can’t wipe off?Does the air feel clammy or humid?Can you see mold growing in your home?
21What can I do about a possible moisture problem? Repair or cover leaking roofs, walls, doors, or windows.Increase air flow in problem areas. Fans, air conditioners and open doors can help.Keep surfaces dry by cleaning up spills quickly and toweling off bathroom walls after showering or bathing.Check the relative humidity with a kit from your local hardware store. Humidifiers shouldn’t run if humidity is higher than 50%.Throw away wet carpeting, cardboard boxes, and insulation.Keep people with asthma and allergies away from damp areas in your home.
22When in Doubt, Check It Out! Mold & MoistureYour county Extension Office –look in your telephone bookYour local or state health department –look in your telephone bookThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) –www.epa.gov/moldThe Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) –www.cdc.gov/health/mold.htmlCalifornia Indoor Air Quality Program –www.cal-iaq/iaqsheet.htmThe Health House –Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes (406) –
24What is Carbon Monoxide? A deadly gas that can make you sick or even kill you.You can’t see, taste, feel, or smell carbon monoxide.Children, unborn babies, older adults, and people with asthma, heart and lung problems are more likely to get hurt from breathing it.It harms even healthy people to breathe it in.
25What are signs of CO poisoning? Often confused with the flu. Symptoms may include:HeadacheNauseaVomitingDizzinessConfusionTirednessWeaknessSleepinessChest tightnessTrouble breathingChanges in senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste
26What in my home might cause a carbon monoxide risk? Things to check:Appliance and furnace ageGas water heaterKitchen burners with yellow or orange flameRusty vent pipes for furnace, boiler, water heaterFireplace smokeGas fireplaceKerosene or gas heaterVent and combustion air openingsCarbon monoxide detector
27What can I do to minimize a risk? NEVER run engines or charcoal grills in garage or inside!Have a professional check on old appliances and furnace.Turn off appliance or furnace if it doesn’t seem to be working right, starts sooting, or makes different noisesNever block exhaust ventsNever use kitchen stove or oven to heat your home!NEVER warm up car in garage.Take care with weatherizing projects.
28What do I do if a CO alarm goes off in my home? LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.Treat it as an emergency. Call from a phone outside your homeSee a doctor or nurse right away, especially if someone shows signs of CO poisoning.Have your home checked by a qualified heating or appliance contractor.Don’t go back home until all problems have been found and fixed!
29When in Doubt, Check It Out! Carbon MonoxideYour county Extension office –look in your telephone bookYour local or state health department –look in your telephone bookThe Consumer Products Safety Commission (800) –The American Lung Association, (800)LUNG-USA –Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes (406) –
31Why should I worry about lead? Lead poisoning can causeLearning and behavior problemsHearing damageNervous system damaging, including the brainChildren are likely candidates for lead poisoning.Calcium deficiencies can put children further at risk for lead poisoning.1 in 40 children has too much lead in their body.
32Where does lead come from? Older homesPaint on windows and windowsillsWater pipes or the solder used to join pipesHousehold dustSoil outside the home
33How do I know if my house has lead? Homes built before 1950 probably contain some lead.Hardware stores sell inexpensive kits to test for lead.
34What can I do to prevent lead poisoning? Know when lead is dangerous.Have a doctor test your child for lead.Wash children’s hands and faces.Don’t let children chew on windowsills.Use warm water and paper towels to wipe down home.Take care with remodeling.Feed your children a healthy diet.Work in a clean and lead-safe manner.
35When In Doubt, Check It Out! LeadFor blood tests, call your family doctor or public health clinic.For testing of paint samples and drinking water, call your local or state health department.For a packet of materials or questions about lead, call the National Lead Information Center, (800)424-LEAD.For information on lead in drinking water, call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline, (800) –Contact HUD about tenants’ rights and other housing issues, (800)HUDS-FHA—For more information on Lead In and Around the Home, see Home*A*Syst. (608) –The Lead Safety page on Rebuilding Together Dayton’s website:
37When might my water be unsafe? Do you have lead pipes?Lead pipes are dull grey and scratch easily with a key.Do you have copper pipes?Copper pipes are reddish-brown in color.If YES: CLEAR THE PIPES.Let cold water run for two or three minutes if you have not used it in a while.Never use hot water from the tap for cooking, drinking, or making formula.
38What else can I do to help ensure the safety of our drinking water? Water supply is local!Follow directions when using poisons to kill weeds or bugs.Take care where you store chemicals.DO NOT throw chemicals down the drain or in the garbage. Follow directions for disposal.Give away or safely dispose of leftover chemicals.
39When In Doubt, Check It Out! Drinking WaterCall your local water companyCall your local Cooperative Extension officeCall your local or state health departmentCall EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline, (800)The Home*A*Syst handbook, (608) –
41What are some possibly hazardous household products? BleachRat poisonMothballsCharcoal lighter fluidBatteriesMercury thermometersGasOilWood polishToilet cleanersDrain cleanersShoe polishBug spray
42Protect your children from hazardous products: Follow the directions. Store safely. Dispose of safely.
43Can you cut down on the hazardous products in your home? Buy only what you need, no extras.Keep garbage tidy, wash dishes often to prevent or reduce pests.Don’t use hazardous materials if you are pregnant and someone else will do the job.Use baking soda for scrubbing.Use vinegar for cutting grease.Use a plunger to unclog, rather than chemicals.Look for environmentally safe (“green”) cleaning products.
44Do you store hazardous materials safely? Keep them away from children! A secure, locked place is best.Keep products from sparks, heat, or fire.Store batteries and flammable chemicals away from direct sunlight.Never put hazardous materials in anycontainer other than the one they came in!Keep containers and packages dry.
45How do you get rid of hazardous materials? Pay attention to labels.NEVER burn or dump hazardous materials on your property, or in a barrel or stove.Recycle used motor oil or antifreeze.Take leftovers to a community hazardous waste collection point.NEVER mix hazardous materials together, particularly not ammonia and chlorine bleach.
46What else can I do to protect my family’s health? Use products known to be safe when possible.ALWAYS read and follow directions on labels!Buy products in childproof containers.Post the Poison Control Center telephone number next to your phone.(800) will connect you from anywhere in the country.Find out about your community’s hazardous waste collection points.
47When In Doubt, Check It Out! Hazardous Household ProductsCall your Poison Control Center, (800)Call your Cooperative Extension officeCall your local or state health departmentContact the Consumer Products Safety Commission, (800) –Contact Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes, (406) –The Home*A*Syst handbook, (608) –EPA’s Consumer Labeling Initiative –
49When might pesticides become a problem for my family? Breathing fumes or dust from pesticide powders and sprays can be harmful.Touching a floor where pesticide was used can also be dangerous.Young children crawl and play on lawns and floors.Young children put everything in their mouths.Pesticides or poisons stored within children’s reach are dangerous.
50Why might my home have pests? Loose or torn screensBroken windowsDirty counters or floorsSpilled food in the homeA garage that pests can accessFood stored without coversLeaky roof or plumbingDishes that go unwashed for long periods of time
51What can I do to minimize the need for pesticides? Keep a clean homeKeep food at tableGet rid of stacks of newspaper, cardboard boxes, etc. Recycle if you can.Shampoo pets and wash their bedding oftenTips for Preparing FoodWash and scrub all fruits and vegetablesThrow outer leaves awayTrim fat – some pesticides collect thereIf you can, buy organic. Organic farmingdoes not use pesticides.Lawn and GardenUse lawn seeds and plants that grow welland fight diseaseMake sure you know what a pest is beforeusing a pesticideHand-pull or use a hoe to get rid of weedsClean up dead leaves and debris
52When In Doubt, Check It Out! PesticidesEPA Office of Pesticide Programs, (703) –You can order these publications:Help! It’s a Roach: A Roach Prevention Activity BookCitizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety10 Tips to Protect Your Family From Pesticide and Lead PoisoningPesticides and Child SafetyPesticides and Food: What You and Your Family Need to KnowNational Pesticide Information Center, (800) –Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Information Service Hotline, (888)SAFE-FOOD ((888) ), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through FridayThe Home*A*Syst handbook, (608) –For more information on non-toxic pest control contact the Bio-Integral Resource Center, (510) –
53Home SafetyYour chances of getting hurt at home are much higher than at work or school.
54What might be a safety risk in my home? Slips, Trips, FallsClutter in hallways, stairsStairs in poor shapeFires and BurnsLack of smoke alarmsUnsafe use of space heatersLack of fire safety awareness with childrenChokingNot watching children at meal or play timeToys that are not appropriate for a child’s ageWaterNo fence around a poolNot watching children in a bathtubPoisonsCleaning supplies can be poisonous to eat or drink
55How can I prevent slips, trips, and falls? Keep floor clear of tripping hazards.Clean up spills right away.Use non-skid mats on rugs.Repair cracked or worn stairs.Take care carrying large or heavy loads.Keep home well-lit.Teach children not to run indoors or jump down stairs.Don’t use chairs or tables as makeshift ladders.
56How can I prevent fires and burns? Smoke alarms on every floorDO NOT let children play with matches, lighters, stoves or heaters. Store in a safe place.Teach children to prevent firesPlan and practice a fire escape routeKeep space heaters out of busy areas and away from curtains, bedding, etc.
57How can I prevent choking and suffocation? Hot dogs, nuts, popcorn, and hard candy can easily get stuck in a child’s throat.DO NOT let young children eat themDrinks can make babies choke when they are lying down.Make sure babies drink sitting upBalloons, coins, marbles, and buttons can be choking hazards on the ground.Pick up these items from floorsCars and old appliances can suffocate children if they get trapped.DO NOT let children play in or around these things.
58How can I take care to prevent drowning? Always watch children around pools. Make sure they walk around pool decks.Have a fence at least 5 feet high around all pools, hot tubs, and spas.Take toys from poolsLife jackets on docks, beaches, riversNever leave children alone in the bathtub!Children can drown in just a few inches of water.
59How can I poison-proof my home? Keep in mind that all rooms in the home can hold hazardous materials.
60Kitchen and BathroomHazards may include: drain openers, detergents, oven cleaners, medicine chest itemsSafety latchesKeeping hazardous products out of reachKeep children away while using these products
61Bedroom and Living Room Bedroom hazards may include medicine, medications, perfumes, makeup, cigarettesLiving room hazards may include liquor, cigarettes, furniture polish, lamp oil, some plants
62Garage, Basement, and Laundry Room Some of the most hazardousHazards may include: bleach, antifreeze, gasoline, car polishes, car batteries, paints, paint removers, mothballs, bug spray, road salt, and moreSafest to keep children out completely
63If someone gets poisoned: Call Poison Control Center IMMEDIATELY (800)Keep this number by all your phonesMake sure you know:Product brand nameType of productContents as listed on labelAbout how much was consumedHow contact was made (mouth, skin, etc.)How long contact was madeThe person’s age and weightHow you tried to help the person, if you did
64What else can I do to promote safety? CPR and first aid classes for adults and older children.Keep children from equipment such as lawn tractors.Safety gear. Wear it yourself as a good example.Store guns safely—unloaded and locked up.Children under 12 in backseat of car.Car seats for children under 40 pounds.
65When In Doubt, Check It Out! Home SafetyYour county Extension OfficeYour local or state health departmentFor information on product recalls: The Consumer Products Safety Commission, (800) –National SAFE KIDS Campaign, (202) – Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Ste. 1000, Washington, DC 20004The American Red Cross –National Safety Council, (800) –