Surgeon General's Call to Action on Healthy Homes

On June 9, 2009, Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., issued The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes. The Call to Action looks at the ways housing can affect health; its release strengthens the national dialogue about the importance of healthy homes.

“The home is the centerpiece of American life,” said Galson, a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service. “We can prevent many diseases and injuries that result from health hazards in the home by following the simple steps outlined in this Call to Action.”

Some examples outlined in the Call to Action include preventing falls by taking measures such as installing grab bars in showers and preparing a fire escape plan. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults. Other steps outlined in the Call to Action include:

  • Check gas appliances, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces yearly and change furnace and air conditioning filters regularly.
  • Keep children safe from drowning, lead poisoning, suffocation and strangulation, and other hazards.
  • Improve air quality in their homes by installing radon and carbon monoxide detectors, eliminating smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, and controlling allergens that contribute to asthma and mold growth.
  • Improve water quality by learning to protect and maintain private water wells.

Galson urged everyone from parents and homebuilders to community leaders and policy makers to embrace the holistic approach to creating healthy homes outlined in the Call to Action. To learn more about the Call to Action, click here.