National Healthy Housing StandardWith 21,000 annual lung cancer deaths resulting from radon found in homes and home injuries being the leading cause of death for young children, assuring quality housing remains a priority for public health.

In partnership with the National Center for Healthy Housing, APHA Friday launched the new National Healthy Housing Standard to address concerns such as home injuries, lead poisoning and asthma from environmental conditions. The standard has been developed to ensure that homes across the United States are safe and healthy.

“APHA believes in a health in all policies approach, so that means we strongly believe that housing is public health,” APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin explained during the standard’s launch event.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said,

“The sad truth is that millions of families are seeing their hope for the future threatened by poor health. And too often, the cause is a place that should be sacred and safe for all of us: our homes.

“The National Healthy Housing Standard is a critically important tool to get us closer to the goal of having safe and affordable housing for every American.”

The new standard is developed to guide policies and practices for existing homes. The guide outlines safety and health efforts that will work toward ensuring that homes are dry, clean, hazard-free, contaminant-free, ventilated, safe and maintained.

The next step, advocates say, is to put the standard to work.

“We are calling on federal, state and local agencies to seek the adoption of this health-based standard to ensure that every person in America has access to a safe and healthy home,” said Tom Vernon, board chair of the National Center for Healthy Housing.

The inspiration and basis for the new standard is “Housing and Health: Recommended Minimum Housing Standards,” published in 1986 by APHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even earlier, in 1952, APHA published the first model housing ordinance and, in 1939, the “Basic Principles of Health Housing.”

For more information about the newly released National Healthy Housing Standard, visit APHA’s reports and issue briefs or the National Center for Healthy Housing online.