Healthy Homes

A majority of U.S. families, approximately 67%, live in a home with at least one major health risk. [Source: National Center for Healthy Housing, 2009]

View the video, Uncovering Hidden Hazards in Your Home, produced by the COEC in partnership with DPH and the UNC Institute for the Environment.

Community outreach
Community health workers learn how to identify sources of poor indoor air quality.

Community health workers learn how to identify sources of poor indoor air quality.

Through a partnership with the Division of Public Health (DPH) and local health and housing agencies across the state, the COEC is working to reduce North Carolinians’ exposure to home hazards like poor indoor air quality, pests and pesticides, lead contamination, and to prevent home injuries.

COEC staff teaches the National Center for Healthy Housing Community Health Worker curriculum, a 7-hour training to teach individuals who work as health advocates in their communities to provide one-on-one and large group education on healthy homes, provide general advice about specific healthy homes problems, and be able to recommend healthy homes approaches to be taken by families, landlords and other community members.

The COEC helps to support, a web resource aimed at residents who have concerns about indoor environmental health hazards.


Herendeen LA, MacDonald A. Planning for the North Carolina healthy homes initiative. Rev Environ Health. 2011;26(3):149-54. PMID: 22206191.
Peden D, Reed CE. Environmental and occupational allergies. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb;125(2 Suppl 2):S150-60. Review. PMID: 20176257.

Quinn K, Jaufman JS, Siddiqi A, Yeatts KB. Stress and the City: Housing Stressors are Associated with Respiratory Health among Low-Socioeconomic Status Chicago Children. J Urban Health. 2010 Jul;87(4):688-702. PMID: 20499191.
Selgrade MK, Lemanske RF Jr, Gilmour MI, Neas LM, Ward MD, Henneberger PK, Weissman DN, Hoppin JA, Dietert RR, Sly PD, Geller AM, Enright PL, Backus GS, Bromberg PA, Germolec DR, Yeatts KB. Induction of asthma and the environment: what we know and need to know. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Apr; 114(4):615-9. PMID: 16581555.
Vesper S, McKinstry C, Ashley P, Haugland R, Yeatts K, Bradham K, Svendsen E. Quantitative PCR analysis of molds in the dust from homes of asthmatic children in North Carolina. J Environ Monit. 2007 Aug;9(8):826-30. PMID: 17671663. 

Yeatts K, Sly P, Shore S, Weiss S, Martinez F, Geller A, Bromberg P, Enright P, Koren H, Weissman D, Selgrade M. A brief targeted review of susceptibility factors, environmental exposures, asthma incidence, and recommendations for future asthma incidence research. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Apr;114(4):634-40. PMID: 16581558.

What you can do

Become a community resource: Contact COEC staff for a healthy homes workshop or Community Health Worker course.
  1. Get the lead out. Have your child and home tested for lead if you live in a pre-1978 home. Lead may also be found in vinyl mini-blinds, soil and toys.
  2. Eliminate sources of moisture and remove visible mold. Leaky roofs, water pipes, windows, air conditioners and basements can spur mold growth.
  3. Manage pests safely by eliminating sources of food and moisture. If pesticides must be used, choose baits and gels and avoid using sprays and carefully read labels.
  4. Clean up indoor air. Use windows and fans to let fresh air in. Avoid smoking in your home and use candles and air fresheners sparingly. Test your home for radon.
  5. Use a home safety plan, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Store poisonous products away from children.

Educational materials

Funded by NIEHS Grant # P30 ES010126