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Managing Healthy Homes

We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors and much of that time is in our home. What most of us do not know is that indoor environments are often more polluted than outdoor. In fact, Americans spend billions of dollars every year in housing-related healthcare costs such as asthma, lead-based paint poisoning, and allergies.

A healthy home is dry, clean, ventilated, free from pests and contaminants, well maintained, and safe. Integrated Pest Management is an effective, safe way to control pests and is an important component of a healthy home.

Integrated Pest Management is an effective, common-sense approach to pest control that provides information on the habits and traits of pests and how they interact with our environment. This approach encourages a well-maintained home, free of water damage and other structural issues, and the use of the least toxic methods for control of pests to limit the impacts of pesticides on health issues like asthma and cancer.

Since 2009, Midwest Pesticide Action Center has:

  • Held 65 housing related training events in IPM
  • Trained over 3,000 individuals
  • Impacted over 200,000 households

Continue reading for for: Empowering Residents, Educating Housing Managers, Green and Healthy Homes

Empowering Residents

Midwest Pesticide Action Center educates resident on reducing the misuse and overuse of pesticides while still effectively controlling pests by advocating for Integrated Pest Management.

Midwest Pesticide Action Center has developed many helpful resources that explain Integrated Pest Management to both renters and homeowners in an understandable way. We deliver this information by:

  • Talking to residents on a one-on-one basis at housing fairs;
  • Organizing informative workshops that are targeted to residents;
  • Collaborating with other organizations to inform renters and other residents on their right to healthy living conditions; and
  • Providing technical assistance over the phone to hundreds of residents

Educating Housing Managers

We have trained thousands of landlords and housing managers on safe, cost-effective, pest-control methods.  Low-income residents and public housing are often particularly affected by unhealthy homes.

In 1996, Midwest Pesticide Action Center worked with Chicago’s Henry Horner Public Housing Development to launch a landmark IPM program. Highlights of the program include:

  • Targeted improvements in building maintenance, resident involvement and education on pest-management practices;
  • Regular pest inspection with minimal treatment by an operator with Integrated Pest Management expertise;
  • In the first year, 90 percent of the development’s 500 residents reported satisfaction with the program; and
  • An 83 percent drop in the amount of insecticidal gel bait used on the property.

“You folks are unique in so many ways and so very important to landlords, tenants, the City of Chicago and, last but not least, the American way of life.”

- Paul Bernstein, Attorney at Law

Green and Healthy Homes

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative is a national partnership of public, private, and philanthropic efforts that delivers a cost-effective and integrated approach to housing interventions through weatherization, energy efficiency, health, and safety. In Chicago, over 20 organizations work together to deliver services and provide education on healthy homes to residents, service providers, building owners, and the community.

As a member of the Chicago Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and with the support of the National Center for Healthy Housing and the City of Chicago, Midwest Pesticide Action Center works to support the initiative by offering information and training on Integrated Pest Management to promote best practices for maintaining a healthy home.

Our Healthy Homes program is supported by the Illinois Department of Public HealthPolk Bros. Foundation, and the City of Chicago.

For Further Reading

What You Can Do: For tips on making healthy decisions in your home. Learn More

Ten Steps to Pest Control: For information on Integrated Pest Management factsheets provides easy tips for a pest-free home. Learn More

Training: Sign up for upcoming training events happening in the Midwest. Learn More

View all resources

Photo courtesy of John Booz