Under the broad banner of “health,” the federal government not only is telling Americans what to eat, it’s also telling us to make our homes safer.
This week, the Obama administration released a “bold new vision for addressing the nation’s health and economic burdens caused by preventable hazards associated with the home.”
The project has a name: “Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action.”
“People in the United States spend about 70% of their time in a home,” the announcement said.
“Currently, millions of U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical housing problems, including dilapidated structure; roofing problems; heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies; water leaks and intrusion; pests; damaged paint; and high radon gas levels. These conditions are associated with a wide range of health issues, including unintentional injuries, respiratory illnesses like asthma and radon-induced lung cancer, lead poisoning, result in lost school days for children, as well as lost productivity in the labor force.”
According to the Obama administration, the health and economic burdens from preventable hazards associated with both subsidized and privately owned homes cost billions of dollars.
The new strategy “unifies” federal efforts to advance healthy housing — “demonstrating the connection between housing conditions and residents’ health.”
The federal partners pushing healthy housing include the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Surgeon General, and Energy Department.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says the federal government must do “everything we can to ensure that individuals and families have a healthy place to call home.” He said the strategy “will help the federal government unify action (on) controlling and preventing major housing-related exposures and hazards.”