Winter Tips: A Healthy Home for the Holidays

By Lina Younes

With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are trying to decorate our home to receive family and friends. Not only are we putting up holiday decorations to get into the spirit, but many of us are also trying to make some home redesigns or renovations in anticipation of the festivities. A simple way to give the home a new look is by painting. Just recently, we decided to paint some rooms at home.  I let my husband and daughter make the color selection and, boy, was I surprised! The newly painted rooms which were originally painted in light pastels now are fashioned in bright and bold colors. I confess that it took some getting used to, but I really like the new look.

If you live in a house or apartment that was built prior to 1978, there is a chance that the house has lead-based paint.  If the existing paint is not peeling or cracking, lead paint should not be a problem.  But if it is not in good condition and the paint is chipping or damaged, steps need to be taken to protect your family from lead hazards to prevent lead poisoning. If you decide to make the repairs or paint on your own, please visit this website to learn more about how you can make your home lead-safe.

Also, when dealing with household products like paint, paint strippers and other solvents, there may be some with volatile organic compounds which may cause allergic reactions, headaches and other health effects. So anytime you’re painting, make sure that you increase the ventilation and follow the manufacturer’s directions closely. In fact, all major hardware stores and home repair centers now sell low-VOC paints.  Consider them when purchasing paint to ensure a healthier indoor air quality in your home.

Furthermore, when making home improvements, consider energy efficient appliances with the Energy Star label to reduce your energy bills, improve the comfort in your home while protecting the environment. I’ll discuss this further in an upcoming blog.

Do you have any winter tips you would like to share with us? Looking forward to your input.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.