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Question of the Week: How do you protect your children from environmental health hazards in and around your home?

2009 October 26

Children may be more vulnerable than adults to environmental health threats. Although the home is typically a safe place for children, when it comes to environmental heath it’s wise to know the facts. October is Children’s Health Month. Check out the October calendar for environmental health tips.

How do you protect your children from environmental health hazards in and around your home?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

20 Responses leave one →
  1. Johnny R. permalink
    October 26, 2009

    Environmental threats by their nature cannot originate in the home, so the most effective way to protect the children’s health is to pay more attention to what is going on in your own neighborhood, county, state, nation and planet, then organize with other concerned citizens to safely recycle 100% of all waste and garbage in your neighborhood and county, and demand your members of Congress pass laws requiring all citizens to do the same.

  2. Jackenson Durand permalink
    October 26, 2009

    The best way to protect our children against health environment hazardous would be to follow those steps:
    - Keeping usages products like health beauty cosmetics locked.
    - Hazardous waste away, in areas where children could never reach them.
    - Educating our children by using strong psycho-philosophic attitude to make them understand, how they could be hurt by touching (using) chemicals elements.

    Note. We can always keep our home safe with a clean environment to protect our children by using good health attitude. As, we learn in medical school to break the cycle.

  3. Jorge Gerônimo Hipólito permalink
    October 26, 2009

    O João-de-Barro com carinho e barro constrói sua casa e nela cria os seus filhotes; a pomba escolhe com segurança os gravetos que emaranha seus ninhos; o beija-flor que escolhe os fios da paina e do algodão para tornar ainda mais macio o abrigo dos seus descendentes. Eles são irracionais, mas parece que, instintivamente, amam muito mais que nós, animais racionais. Assim, resta sugerir: nós, humanos, precisamos agir iguaiszinhos aos irracionais animais, pois, dessa forma tudo daria certo.

  4. Susan permalink
    October 26, 2009

    We practice organic gardening (no chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers), try to minimize household chemicals (use soap and baking soda as our main cleaner) and try to buy local and organic food. We are not purists, but try to take reasonable precautions and encourage our kids to make healthy choices for themselves and the environment.

  5. Joan permalink
    October 26, 2009

    For years I have been a yard sale “addict” and have enjoyed bringing home old furniture to sand down and repaint.
    Now that I’m a new grandmother, however, EPA’s campaign about the hazards of lead paint has really made me think twice about the lead I may be releasing into my home environment with those furniture projects. I’ll certainly be more cautious in the future.

  6. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    October 26, 2009

    We really don’t worry about any health hazards. We live on a farm and the kids have been raised up knowing what is safe to touch and what is not. There are hazards everywhere, even in nature. Our kids know not to touch poison ivy. They know to watch out for rattlesnakes and how to identify a rabid skunk. I guess they just have “common knowledge,” something many city dwellers and environmentalists seem to have been born without.

  7. Christian permalink
    October 26, 2009

    I feel one of the easiest and best way to protect our children from health hazards at home, is to simply remove all the toxic chemicals so many of us use in our homes.

    There are other options available to us and it’s our choice to have or not to have these toxins in our homes. Why risk our kids health? It seems we do it out of habit. Our parents used harmful stuff to clean the house so we do as well, and the commercials that make us think these harmful products that stock the store shelves are our best options for cleaning our homes.
    I buy all of my cleaning supplies from companies that actually care about our health, and make products that won’t give us cancer, companies like Melaleuca.

  8. Kuan You Wai permalink
    October 26, 2009

    Well, I need to work as I am a Managing Director of two companies. Time is always not on my side. So, instead of protecting them, I shall spend my limited time teaching them how to protect themselves from the harzard in the environment. One of the best way is to lead by example. Last week, they helped volunteerily to put some of my new orchids into pots with brick chips and charcoal. They asked me why I like gardening so much. I told them unless you do it yourself, you will never know the enjoyment in doing so. Well, I am pleased to see they are interested in gardening now. Later, I shall teach them to make organic composts and tell them why I do so…

  9. Biojoe (COS, CO) permalink
    October 27, 2009

    With 23 yrs experience in the Occupational Health, Industrial Hygiene, Environmental Protection and Readiness areas I think the best way to protect children is to (1) educate them, (2) have an assessment of their environments completed by properly trained technicians, specialists …etc. who can make an assessment of potential exposures and Recomendations to eliminate/reduce those hazards. The trained professionals should be looking at hazards such as asbestos, lead, radon, PCB, formaldehyde, toxics, IAQ, radiation, noise, lighting, hobbies, construction…etc. These are just a fraction of the hazards to look for. There are very good ideas posted here!!

  10. Giorgio permalink
    October 27, 2009

    I don’t protect my children. I am too stupid to parent. I am waiting for the EPA to pass laws that will tell me how I must protect my children and send inspectors to my home to make sure I am doing it properly. Perhaps EPA will hand out plastic bubbles to hermetically seal our children within.

  11. Sharon permalink
    October 27, 2009

    We stopped using a lot of products like pesticides and cleaners. All medications are in the back bathroom away from reach. Of course you attempt to explain, according to the age of the child, the dangers of certain actions by illustrating possible outcomes, but not scare them, instead help them see the danger to themselves. And, because my grand-daughter has a mild case of emphysema (due to second hand smoke in her environment before and after birth) we are VERY careful to keep our environment as clean as possible else it exacerbates her symptoms.

  12. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    October 27, 2009

    I think you are very smart. You cannot beat plain old soap and hot water for cleaning. My daughter did an experiment in our little rural school. They took samples of germs off of hands that had not been washed, then hands that had been washed with soap and water, then they had one person to use the anti-germicidal lotion that is available in most hospitals on his hands. Each of these cultures were grown and guess which one was more sterile? The soap and hot water. I guess our grandparents and their lye soap knew what they were talking about when it came to cleaning our hands.

  13. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    October 27, 2009

    P.S. Bacteria hate Chlorine. Your municipal water supply has to have a chlorine residual to make sure that your water is disinfected and safe to drink. This residual also helps kill bacteria when you are using hot water to clean! Don’t worry though, it usually is less than 1 part per million and does not pose any health hazards to you or your children.

  14. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    October 28, 2009

    Giorgio,
    Do I hear a hint of sarcasm in your voice. You really don’t think “Big Brother” is overstepping his constitutional bounds do you?

  15. Kanai Lal Hazra permalink
    October 28, 2009

    Everyday our children do some routine activities. Though they are quite safe at house and school but the need of environmental hazrad awareness is essential to protect themselves and grow good habit. Identifying the potential hazard in and around neighbouring areas is the foremost importance and parent must involve their children in this activity. It should start from the condition of their tooth brush, playing with toys & pets, hang wet cloths to dry in sunlight, waste generated by the family members and disposal. Children should be taught that they must not through anything to neighbour’s fencing. They should be allowed to avail public vehicles as much as possible. They should be given opprotunity to act as they wish in the community development programme.

  16. Johnny R. permalink
    October 29, 2009

    There is a citrus based alternative now on the market. When millions of people use chlorine based cleansers it accumulates in the waste disposal system and ends up in the environment.

  17. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    November 2, 2009

    I use soaps free of dyes, phosphates, and scents. I don’t use pesticides but there are a few garden spiders that weave webs around the plant I have on the patio deck and they catch most of the pests and the plant looks nice and healthy. And I buy food that says organically gown. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  18. Rob Ashby permalink
    November 2, 2009

    I believe the first line of defence is Indoor Air Quailty (IAQ) using a good whole house filter with an 800 clean air delivery rate or better AND the use of UVGI (UV) lights. Most people do not know how much mold, bacteria, virses, & germs that grow in your average heating / air conditioning system. UV has been around used in hospitals to sterlize since the 1800″s. checkout the EPA’s website on UV. You can kill 99+% of all mold, bacteria, virses, & germs without chemicals using UV.

  19. Mark permalink
    November 20, 2009

    I agree whole heartily. Some basic precautions with in your home such as an air purification system can have a huge help to the wellness of your family. You can’t always control what is outside, but having a system to remove dirty air once it enters your home can have a huge impact as air tends to enter your home and stagnate. While you are in and out of the house all day, every night you have to sleep breathing what ever is in your home.

  20. Gary S permalink
    January 3, 2010

    With the advent of H1N1, the hysteria surrounding the disease has atleast created enough fear to get the kids at my school to wash their hands with alcohol based disinfectant at regular intervals. Apart from that, I do my part in getting my gaming friends in game and through my website to regularly clean and disinfect their keyboards. I once read an article that your keyboard is so much more dirty than the worst parts of your restroom.

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