Healthy Indoor Environments - College of Family and Consumer

Healthy Indoor Environments
Where We Live, Learn and Play
University of Georgia Family & Consumer Sciences
Volume 1
Number 2
October 2017
Is Your Child One of the 535,000 Who Is At Risk?
Written by Christa Campbell
Did you know that home repairs that
create even a small amount of lead
dust can harm your children?
There are major health
effects, especially for children six
years old and under, associated with
exposure to high amounts of lead.
Inside this issue:
Children At Risk
for Lead Exposure
Poison Prevention: Taking Action for a Healthier Home
Energy Saving
Keep Warm, But
Stay Safe!
Helpful Hints and
Healthy Home
Peeling Lead Pain. Image Source: Pamela Turner
Children can suffer from brain damage, slowed growth, headaches, behavior and learning problems. According to the Center for Disease
Control, 535,000 U S children ages
1 to 5 years have blood lead levels
high enough to damage their health.
Lead is a toxic metal that was used for
many years in products in or around our
homes; more specifically, it can be
found in paint used in homes and apartments that were built before 1978.
Therefore, it is important when doing
home repairs to hire a Lead-Safe Certified contractor or take extra precautions
to work
lead safe.
To find a
Image Source: Pixabay
call 800-424LEAD (5323) or visit If
you decide to do the work yourself then
-do-it-yourselfers to be sure you are taking all the necessary precautions to keep
you and your loved ones safe.
Healthy Home Hacks
Eliminating odors in the home: Pour white vinegar on a hand towel, then wring it out. Walk
through your house waving the towel in the air, like you are rooting for the Dawgs! This will
eliminate any lingering unpleasant odors without using chemicals. ~ Keishon Thomas
Frost on your car windows can be removed with rubbing alcohol. Fill a spray bottle with rubbing
alcohol, spritz the window and the frost comes right off! ~ Ines Beltran
Microfiber products are made of small fibers that have the ability to trap dusts and absorb spills.
To protect them, don’t treat them with fabric softener. ~ Pamela Turner
Healthy Indoor Environments
Page 2
Poison Prevention: Taking Action for a Healthier Home
Written by Carin Booth
If you take a look around your home, you are sure
to find household items used for a variety of purposes. There are cleaners, detergents, disinfectants,
and medications, to name just a few. Caring for
your home and family requires the use of many of
these products, most of which are generally regarded as safe. However, incorrect use or storage can
result in accidental poisoning. Both adults and children may can be poisoned.
Poisons are substances that are capable of causing
illness or death when absorbed. Unfortunately, poisons continue to be the leading cause of injury and
death in the United States. Many of these occurrences are the result of misuse and mishandling of
potentially poisonous substances.
According to the Georgia Poison
Center, forty-five percent of calls
made to the poison control center
hotline are in regards to children
6 years of age or less. The number two leading cause of accidental poisons is household
cleaning products, with analgesics like Motrin or
Tylenol taking first place.
“One of the best
things you can do
for your family is
With the danger of poisoning right in our own
homes, what can we do to
combat this issue?
One of the best things you
can do for your family is to
educate them. Poisons can
affect adults and children
alike so take time to teach
about poison look-alikes in Image Source: Pixabay
your home. A poison lookalike is a potentially harmful substance that can be
easily mistaken for a safe one.
This occurs because of similar packaging or color-
ing. For instance, have you ever noticed similarities in
blue sports drinks and window cleaner? Or, how close in
color and texture powdered cleanses are to parmesan
You can also help alleviate this problem in your home by
storing food separately from household cleaners and
medicines. Keep your pantry and cleaning products organized and in their original containers. Store chemicals in
a way that will prevent a common mix-up between poison containers and food containers.
While the danger of poisons
is prevalent in children, adults
are just as likely to experience issues. For adults with
low vision or older adults,
consider asking the pharmacist for large print medicine Ibuprofen and Tic Tak candy.
labels to ensure you are tak- Image Source: Emily Reynolds
ing the correct medicine and
It is also important to read the label of any product you
are using to see if the ingredients are safe in your home.
Try using multipurpose products to reduce the amount of
potentially harmful products you have in your home. The
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension website has
recipes for green cleaning and pesticide products that can
provide peace of mind when cleaning around your home.
After becoming familiar with products in your home,
take caution and use products exactly as the directions
state. Follow the instructions on the label to reduce the
risk of accidental poisoning.
If you happen to come in contact with poisons, contact
the Poison control Center immediately! In fact, it is best
to contact the Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222) before
calling 911 in emergencies that involve poisoning. The
helpline is not just for emergencies and should be used as
a resource any time you need information or have questions on poisons.
Volume 1
Page 3
Healthy Indoor Environments
Energy Saving Tips
Written by Keishon Thomas
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 46% of your utility bill goes to pay
for heating and cooling your home. Yikes! It’s time to save money. Follow these tips to
save energy and maintain your comfort.
Have your heating and cooling system inspected by a qualified heating ventilation
and air conditioning (HVAC) professional. Routine maintenance ensures your unit
is safe, working effectively and efficiently.
Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically adjust the temperature in your home. You can store and repeat multiple
daily settings.
Image Source: Pixabay
“The second largest
The second largest area of energy consumption in the home is lighting, household
area of energy
appliances and electronics. The Berkley National Lab estimates that in most homes
consumption in the
there are at least 40 household devices drawing power. Just looking in one room in
home is lighting, house
my own home and I know they are right. Reduce your use by:
Unplugging electronic devices when they
aren't in use. Most new electronics use electricity even when switched "off".
Curbing idle time in devices such as computers and video game consoles. Set your
computer and sleep mode or save games
and power down rather than pausing
hold appliances and
Image Source: Pamela Turner
Using power strips. Power strips allow you to power completely on and
off. This will allow you to control the power usage of clusters of devices so that they’re not consuming electricity when not in use.
Surge Protector On
Image Source: Pamela Turner
Surge Protector Off
Image Source: Pamela Turner
Page 4
Healthy Indoor Environments
Keep Warm, But Stay Safe!
Written by Rebecca Stackhouse
Picture curling up in front of a cozy fireplace and enjoying a hot drink. Stop!
Don’t do that before you have your fireplace inspected. There are some housekeeping and safety measures you need to
follow before that first chilly night when
you toss a log on the fire. Each year, you
should have your chimney inspected by a
professional. Clean out the creosol and
ashes to avoid a smoky mess or a house
fire. Burn the right materials and use seasoned hard wood. Burning cardboard,
trash or debris can cause problems inside
a home.
A fire can get out of control as a result of
burning debris. Sparks can fly
into the room or toxic smoke
could filter throughout your
home. A screen can offer protection and could keep sparks
and embers in their place, but
it’s best to burn only wood.
Never leave a fire unattended.
Image source: Pamela Turner
With the proper care and use of a fireplace you can enjoy the season with common
sense throughout the colder months.
Helpful Hints for Healthy Indoor Environments
Hint 1: Choosing Safer Thrift-Store Toys
The thrift store can be a great place to find bargains, but make your holidays happier by shopping carefully. Choose
toys that fit your child’s age, ability, and interests. Check toys for sharp edges, loose parts, or missing pieces. Make
sure buttons and trims are tightly attached so children cannot pull them off. Toys with small parts can be a choking
hazard, especially for children under age 3. Lead paint is not allowed in children’s toys, but be aware that older plastic or painted toys in thrift stores may contain lead. Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s tips for
toy safety at ~ Diane Bales, Human Development Extension Specialist
Hint 2: Giving Bicycle Helmets for the Holidays
That shiny new bicycle may be the perfect holiday gift. Make sure children are safe using it by adding a shiny new
helmet. Choose the right size helmet for your child’s age and head size, and take time to adjust it to fit your child’s
head properly. Replace helmets and pads every five years, whenever children outgrow them, or whenever they are in
a crash or the foam is dented. Teach children to always wear helmets when riding. Learn more about bicycle safety
from Safe Kids Worldwide at ~ Diane Bales, Human Development Extension Specialist
Dr. Pamela R. Turner, Housing Extension Specialist
Dr. Diane W. Bales, Human Development Extension Specialist
This newsletter is produced by UGA Extension and supported in part by the U.S Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development’s
Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes under the Healthy Homes Partnership Grant.
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