Date of Graduation
Master of Public Health (MPH)
School of Nursing and Health Professions
Americans spend 90% of their lives indoors, and much of this time is spent at home, surrounded by building materials that typically have added chemicals like flame retardants, highly fluorinated compounds, and antimicrobials. Recent research has linked these chemicals to adverse health outcomes such as asthma, endocrine disruption, cancer, neurodevelopmental issues, and reproductive problems (Bayer et al., n.d.; Green Science Policy Institute). Furthermore, these chronic health conditions disproportionately affect low-income populations. Fortunately, substantial efforts in research, practice, and policy are working to reduce the use of these potentially harmful chemicals in building materials, particularly in San Francisco’s affordable housing sector. The Green Science Policy Institute researches the health and ecological effects of chemicals in building products and educates policymakers about safer alternatives. Green building programs like LEED and Enterprise Green Communities serve as practical tools for developers, architects, and builders to incorporate healthy materials. Lastly, government housing funds can be leveraged for affordable housing developments to require or promote the use of healthy materials. This capstone project explores these current efforts in detail and highlights the cross-sectional collaborations that are improving occupant health and reducing health disparities, starting in the home. The paper concludes with recommendations to strengthen these efforts including the need for more health impact assessments and the applicability of a medical-legal partnership to improve housing conditions.
Hoell, Staci, "Health Starts in the Home: An Assessment of Efforts to Improve Occupant Health through Healthy Building Materials in San Francisco’s Affordable Housing" (2017). Master's Projects and Capstones. 694.