NEHA and NCHH Release New Guide for Safer Cleaning and Disinfection
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Columbia, MD (March 11, 2021) – Newly available from the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is the Healthy Homes Guide to Cleaning and Disinfection, a comprehensive resource intended to protect homemakers and caregivers from unnecessary exposures to various environmental hazards including both contagions and the products used to neutralize them.
With most Americans spending more time indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining safe and healthy home environments is critically important to reduce transmission of viruses, such as seasonal flu, and to remove or prevent the accumulation of other hazards, such as allergens and the toxic dust created from the daily wear against surfaces with lead-based paint. Children are especially susceptible to environmental health hazards due to their smaller body weight, developing nervous and immune systems, and an increased tendency to put their hands in their mouths.
The risks are equally significant for children outside their own home. Children who spend a large portion of their days at early care and education (ECE) facilities, many of which also operate within homes, may also be at increased risk for exposure to environmental health hazards, including various viruses that may be passed from person to person via contact with surfaces and shared items, such as toys. Thorough cleaning and disinfection practices play a vital role in reducing the spread of disease and can reduce exposure to allergens, lead dust, and other hazards; but there is also a risk of poisoning from the products themselves when used improperly. Guidance on cleaning practices is especially necessary in ECE facilities where thorough cleaning is part of the daily protocol.
The Healthy Homes Guide to Cleaning and Disinfection shares best practices exposure to harmful chemicals found in cleaning and disinfecting products has compiled resources and curated this page to provide comprehensive and current information on cleaning and disinfection specific to COVID-19. With the help of the content and resources collected from federal agencies, national partners, and state and local agencies and organizations, this guide is intended to serve as a tool for the general public to safely and effectively navigate the cleaning and disinfection processes in their homes and daily lives.
NCHH and NEHA are both members of the Early Care and Education Collaborative (ECE Collaborative), a new project funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ATSDR works in a variety of ways to protect communities from harmful health effects related to exposure to hazardous substances, both natural and manmade. This online guide is the first of several resources from the ECE Collaborative; future resources are expected from collaborative members Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN), and National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) was established in 1937 to advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environmental for all. Currently serving over 6,000 members, NEHA empowers and educates these professionals, providing the tools and resources they need to make the greatest contributions possible in creating healthy environments that we all seek.
The National Center for Healthy Housing‘s (NCHH) mission is transforming lives by transforming housing. Through partnerships, community-based research, and advocacy, NCHH reduces health disparities by translating credible science into tools and catalyzing systems change in low-income communities. With more than six million families living in substandard housing, NCHH equips leaders in the public health, housing, and environmental sectors with the data, tools, policies, and best practices they need to improve housing quality in their communities.