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Healthy Children, Safe Homes a Winning Combination
Date:1/16/2012

SATURDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- From the air you breathe to the foods you eat, hidden dangers may be lurking in your home, experts warn.

Researchers at the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City offer some simple steps to help keep your children healthy and your home safe:

  • Test for radon. Levels of this invisible gas increase during the winter months. Be sure to inspect your home for radon, particularly the basement if it has cracks in the floor. Radon detectors are not expensive and can be found at local hardware stores.
  • Be energy efficient. Heating equipment that's energy efficient can lower your costs and reduce air pollution if it is properly sized and maintained. Also, make sure that all ducts are sealed to prevent leaks, which could lower your efficiency by as much as 20 percent. Equipment more than 15 years old may need to be replaced.
  • Buy organic produce. By choosing organic fruits and vegetables, you can minimize your family's exposure to pesticides, particularly those with soft skin, such as strawberries, raspberries and peaches. Wash all produce before eating to reduce your risk for infection.
  • Recycle old electronics. By e-cycling (recycling old electronics, such as computers, televisions and cellphones) you can reduce waste and help manage toxic chemicals. Your state's environmental agency has information on where you can recycle your old equipment.
  • Eat the right fish. Although fish is a good choice for a healthy diet, some types of fish are safer than others. Certain types of seafood, such as swordfish and shark meat, may contain contaminants, like metals, industrial chemicals and pesticides. Safer seafood options include tilapia, mussels, clams and shrimp.
  • Be smart about plastic. Some plastics contain potentially harmful chemicals known as phthalates and bisphe
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