Approximately 35 million metropolitan homes in the United States contain one or more health and safety risks that can lead to significant illness, injury or death.1 Examples of these housing problems include lead paint hazards, water intrusion, injury and safety risks, pests, heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies.


  • In 2012, 2,327 children under 6 tested in Detroit had elevated levels of lead (>5ug/dL) in their blood.2
  • In 2012, 6,772 children under 6 tested statewide had elevated levels of lead (>5ug/dL) in their blood.2
  • Even very low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in: permanent damage to the brain and nervous system, leading to behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, and hearing problems; slowed growth; and amenia.3
  • About 60% of DPS students who performed below their grade level on 2008 standardized tests had elevated lead levels.4


  • 40 percent of asthma episodes are caused by asthma triggers in the home.5
  • The American Lung Association says an average of one out of every ten school-aged children has asthma.6
  • Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases that affect American children that leads to 205,000 pediatric hospitalizations and 697,000 emergency department visits each year.7

Unintentional Injuries

  • 1.6 million older adults were treated in U.S. emergency departments for unintentional fall-related injuries and 388,000 of these patients were subsequently hospitalized.8
  • Almost one third of deaths in children ages 1-14 are from unintentional injuries.9
  • The leading causes of fatal injuries among children ages 14 and under are motor vehicle crashes, suffocation, drowning and fires and/or burns.9


  • About 400,000 residential fires each year result in $7 billion in property damage and 3,000 deaths.10
  • A National Fire Protection Association survey said majority of Americans, 66 percent, have an escape plan in case of a fire, 34 percent haven’t practiced it.11
  • Cooking has been the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries since 1990.12
  • Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.12

Carbon Monoxide

  • 934 people were unintentionally poisoned by carbon monoxide in Michigan in 2011, including 22 fatally. The leading causes of exposure included faulty furnaces or water heaters (23%), generators (10.5%) and vehicles (10.3%).13
  • According to HUD, each year, more than 500 people in the U.S. die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.14

Poisonous Products in Reach of Children

  • 47 percent of households in the US with children under 5 years old had a pesticide stored in an unlocked cabinet within reach of a child.15

Environmental Tobacco Smoke

  • The Environmental Protection Agency estimates second-hand smoke causes about 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in non-smokers.16
  • Children are especially vulnerable to the dangers of second-hand smoke.16


  • The average indoor radon levels of Wayne County is 2.5 pCi/L. The average national indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L.17
  • 17% of Wayne County homes have dangerous levels of radon at 4 pCi/L or more.17
  • 1 out of 15 homes are above the EPA level of concern for radon.18
  • The EPA estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related.18

Energy costs

  • Low-income households typically spend 14 percent of their total income on energy costs compared with 3.5 percent for other households.19


  1. National Center for Healthy Housing: 2013 State of Healthy Housing (
  2. Michigan Department of Community Health, Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program: 2012 Annual Data Report on Blood Lead Levels of Children in Michigan (
  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency: Learn About Lead (
  4. Lam, T. and Tanner-White, K. “High lead levels hurt learning for DPS kids.” Detroit Free Press (May 16, 2010).
  5. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build A Healthier America. “Beyond Health Care: New Directions To A Healthier America Report.” April 2009
  6. American Lung Association, Epidemiology and Statistics Unit, Research Program Services. Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality. February 2010. (
  7. Takaro, T.K., et al. (2011). The Breathe-Easy Home: The Impact of Asthma-Friendly Home Construction on Clinical Outcomes and Trigger Exposure. American Journal pf Public Health, 101(1), 55-62.
  8. CDC Injury Fact Book, Page 62 (
  9. Safe Kids USA High Risk Fact Sheet (
  10. NFPA Residential structure fires by year (
  11. NFPA 2004 Harris Interactive Study, Page 6 (
  12. NFPA Fast Facts About Fire (
  13. Michigan Department of Community Health: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (,1607,7-132-54783_54784_54787—,00.html)
  14. HUD: About Carbon Monoxide (
  15. EPA Citizens Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety Page 30 (
  16. EPA: Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and Smoke-free Homes  (
  17. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Wayne County Radon Information (
  18. EPA: A Citizen’s Guide to Radon (
  19. U.S. Dept. of Energy (