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Letter from Publisher

Many of us are conscious about outdoor environmental issues such as clean air and drinking water. Yet many health perils can exist in our own homes. Naturally occurring radon gas can seep through a home’s foundation and be as dangerous as second-hand smoke. Houses built before 1978 may contain asbestos, lead paint and lead pipes, and lead contamination of drinking water has become nationally newsworthy. Even in newer homes, volatile organic compounds may be found in the adhesives used to make cabinetry, countertops and flooring.

According to a 2013 report from the federal Healthy Homes Work Group, more than 30 million U.S. housing units have hazardous conditions that place their occupants at potential risk for illnesses and injuries. The good news is that there are simple measures that can be taken to reduce those dangers. For example, do-it-yourself radon testing kits start at about $13. Fixing flaking or chipped paint reduces the chances of lead exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends testing for lead in home drinking water, and for homes with lead contamination, running cold water from the tap for one to two minutes before using it helps flush the pipes. For more tips on making your home healthy and green, visit GreenAndHealthyHomes.org.

Keeping the home smoke-free and dusting regularly can reign in allergen-causing substances, but mold may worsen respiratory illnesses and irritate eyes and nasal passages. In this month’s Community Spotlight, Dr. John Whitcomb, founder and director of the Brookfield Longevity & Healthy Living Clinic and a Mold Qualified Doctor, sheds more light on mold-related illness and how we can protect ourselves.

A healthy home also enhances wellness for the mind and spirit. Applying feng shui principles to balance the home may uplift us, especially during dreary winter months. Decluttering and organizing is a great way to increase mental focus and improve mood and self-esteem. To begin tackling the clutter of paperwork, clothes and other objects that we tend to collect, it is helpful to ask ourselves, “What do I truly need?” and “Why do I need it?” It’s helpful to adopt the minimalist rule of “one in, one out;” with every new purchase, something else should be purged. Items can be temporarily stored in a tote to be donated to a homeless shelter or other local charity that accepts household objects, books, clothes and other reusable items.

May your home be healthy and harmonious this coming year!

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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