Free Healthy Home Assessments for a Fresh Start to 2014

For many of us, the coming of a new year brings about thoughts of self-improvement and goal setting to become healthier and happier. In this burst to set resolutions, we often ignore the impact our home environment can have on our health. This year, start off right by learning how a free healthy home visit can help identify potential problems and create an action plan that may help to reduce exposure to pollutants and poor indoor air quality.

Healthy home visits, offered in a variety of languages, are a component of the Master Home Environmentalist© (MHE©) program, which is funded by the City of Seattle. An in-home visit may help to reduce total exposure to many pollutants including pesticides, allergens, molds, tobacco smoke, lead, and home chemicals.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, and our indoor air can be up to five times as polluted as our outdoor air. Home pollutant exposure may result in asthma, retarded growth, learning disabilities, allergies, cancer, lung disease, symptoms of sick building syndrome, and other illnesses.

Indoor air quality can be compromised by pesticides, allergens, molds, tobacco smoke, lead, and home chemicals.

During a HEAL© visit, an American Lung Association-trained staff or volunteer will work with you to identify potential problems and develop an action plan to reduce exposure to pollutants. The personalized action plan can lead to steps such as use of efficient vacuums and quality door mats, shoe removal at the door, ventilation, integrated pest management, and allergen control. The visit and recommendations are free, and most of these measures are no or low cost.

No one likes to be told that they aren't cleaning the right way or that their living environment could be un-healthy. Our trained staff and volunteers are culturally sensitive and responsive to people's needs, and they work with residents where they are, instead of imposing an agenda on them.

A typical HEAL© home tour will address:

  • Dust and lead control
  • Moisture problems
  • Indoor air
  • Hazardous household products
  • Home action plan

Around two weeks after the home visit, American Lung Association staff will call the resident to respond to any questions and to collect data on actions that the residents have taken as a result of the intervention.

Why not start your year off in a healthier home environment? If you live in Seattle, call the American Lung Association today at 206-512-3280 to learn more, ask questions and schedule your free home assessment.

Master Home Environmentalists© are volunteers who receive training about indoor air quality and ways to talk with friends, relatives, neighbors, and community members about health problems and solutions.

As the lung health manager for American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific, contributor Allison Moroni focuses on community outreach and education about lung disease and improving access to care and support for people living with lung diseases such as asthma, COPD and lung cancer. For more information, contact Allison at amoroni@lungmtpacific.org or 206-512-3294.