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Do you have a question about how to make your home safe, healthy and energy efficient? Ask us! 

At GHHI we have leading experts on lead safety, environmental health, family advocacy, tenant's rights, energy efficiency, home safety issues, pest control and more. They have provided several answers to frequently asked questions on this page. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, send us your questions by filling out the form to the right and we’ll find one of our experts to help get it answered!

How can I decrease tobacco smoke exposure in my home?

  • Don’t smoke indoors.
  • When smoking outside, be sure the door and windows are completely closed prevent smoke from drifting inside.
  • Change clothes after smoking,especially before spending time with asthmatics.
  • Seek help to stop smoking.

What are dust mites and how can I get rid of them?

Dust mites are microscopic organisms that can be found in everyhome. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells often located on pillows, mattresses, carpets and upholstered furniture.

To decrease the presence of dust mites in your home, follow these steps:

  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water.
  • Use dust-proof mattress and pillow covers.
  • Vacuum weekly with a HEPA vacuum cleaner, especially in bedroom areas.
  • Dust weekly with a damp cloth.
  • Reduce moisture sources to decrease humidity.
  • Reduce clutter.

If I’m pregnant, is my unborn child at risk for lead poisoning?

Pregnant women with elevated levels of lead are at greater risk for miscarriages, still births and low birth weight babies. Pregnant women should avoid all potential lead hazards and should not attempt to repair any lead hazards in their homes.

How do I lower my child’s blood lead level?

The most important prevention measure is to live in a lead-free home or a home where any lead hazards havebeen repaired safely. However, if your child has an elevated blood lead level, one of the most important things you can do is make sure they eat plenty of nutritious foods, especially foods high in iron, calcium and Vitamin C. Try to serve fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and avoid canned foods whenever possible.

Foods high in Iron include:

  • Chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef and liver
  • Cooked dried beans or peas, baked beans, lima, butter beans, black eyed peas
  • Cereals fortified with iron
  • Baked potato with the skin
  • Greens and spinach
  • Raisins, nuts and sunflower or pumpkin seeds

Foods high in Calcium include:

  • Milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard and mustard greens, etc.)
  • Hot chocolate
  • Pudding

Foods high in Vitamin C include:

  • Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, strawberries, cantaloupe
  • Juices - orange, grapefruit, lemonade
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes baked in their skins
  • Greens and kale

If your kids are picky eaters, give them a children’s daily vitamin supplement to help make sure they get the nutrients they need. Serve healthy snacks and help children eat five to six small meals and snacks a day because a child with an empty stomach will take in more lead.

Avoid foods that are high in fat and oils – like butter, lard, bacon, scrapple and deep fried foods like french fries and potato chips – because they make it easier for the body to absorb and retain lead.

 

How can I clean my home in order to keep it lead-safe?

  • Perform wet cleaning of surfaces using a cleaning solution to reduce potential lead dust. Cleaning should be done using the “two bucket method” - One bucket for hot water and an all-purpose, environmentally safe cleaner (Example: Simple Green), and one for clean hot water for rinsing. You should wear gloves and have a good sponge. Change your rinse water often. When you’re done, throw the rinse water down the toilet or a utility/laundry sink. DO NOT throw the water down the kitchen sink that you use to prepare food or down your bathtub – it might leave some lead behind that could be harmful. Never dry sweep or dry dust because it stirs up the dust around the house. Use damp cloths to dust and wet mop floors.
  • If you have carpet, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent the dust from being re-circulated back into the air.
  • Toys should be washed in mild soapy water and rinsed well before children are allowed to play with them.
  • ALWAYS rinse pacifiers, bottles and toys if dropped on the floor.

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