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Rick reibstein mas 2017


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Presentation at Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conference on March 17, 2017

Published in: Environment
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Rick reibstein mas 2017

  1. 1. Healthy Homes, Rights of Individuals Rick Reibstein - Lecturer, Environmental Law BU and Harvard Extension • Declaration: rights are inherent, power is shared. • Preamble: provide for the general Welfare. • Fifth Amendment: due process. • The Fourteenth: equal protection. • The common law: a standard of care for a society of reasonable people. Montesquieu John Marshall James Madison
  2. 2. The most important amendment people have forgotten or never knew • THE 9th AMENDMENT: • The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. • THINK ABOUT THAT original intent of the founders. • Doesn’t it mean that everyone has the right to safe housing and no one has the right to unjustly impose risk that can be avoided, or fail to tell you about risks they know about which can harm you?
  3. 3. Step Two: Applying these principles 1. The right to a habitable space is in city ordinance, state law, and federal if in HUD housing 2. You may be able to get an inspector to check things out 3. You may be able to ask a court to ensure your rights 4. You may be able to get legal assistance. BOSTON HOUSING AUTHORITY - for example - inspects yearly housing supported by vouchers.
  4. 4. Even if you do not want to report – or go to court • You should still ASK QUESTIONS informed by knowledge of your rights. • Understand the risks in housing and how to protect yourself and your family. • Use the approach that respects everyone.
  5. 5. HUD Healthy Homes HUD’s HOUSING QUALITY STANDARDS require: • Sanitary facilities; • Food preparation and refuse disposal; • Space and security; • Thermal environment; • Illumination and electricity; • Structure and materials; • Interior air quality; • Water supply; • Lead-based paint; • Access; • Site and neighborhood; • Sanitary condition Smoke detectors
  6. 6. EPA on Healthy Homes • region1/healthyhomes/ • Household Hazardous Waste • Pressure Treated Wood
  7. 7. LEAD Disclosure • Lessor’s Disclosure (a) Presence of lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards (check (i) or (ii) below): (i) ______ Known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards are present in the housing (explain). • Lessor has no knowledge of lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing. • Lessor has provided the lessee with all available records and reports pertaining to lead- based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing (list documents below). • Lessor has no reports or records pertaining to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing. • Lessee has received the pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home. • Agent’s Acknowledgment (initial) (e) ________ Agent has informed the lessor of the lessor’s obligations under 42 U.S.C. 4852d and is aware of his/her responsibility to ensure compliance.
  8. 8. ALSO concerning lead • Renovation or repairs that disturb paint must be performed safely • Water should be tested • Soils can track in lead dust • Watch for products with lead • Common areas free of dusts • Make sure children are tested • Check the records of the public health department to see if children have been measured with elevated rates in the building • Check with the city to see if they know there are lead water service lines • Do what the pamphlet says to protect your family • If DIY do it carefully
  9. 9. National Center for Healthy Housing • Least Toxic Control of Cockroaches Good Riddance to Roaches • MINIMIZING MOUSE MADNESS • Approximately 6-10 percent of the general population, and 15-50 percent of persons who are genetically prone to develop allergies (atopic individuals), are allergic to mold, according to the National Academy of Sciences. • Use a vacuum cleaner with high filtration features (high efficiency or HEPA filter). • Carpets and the sponge-like pads often installed under carpet can trap moisture once they become wet (due to a plumbing or water leak, flood, or condensation), providing a fertile setting for mold and dust mites.
  10. 10. Detectors for CO but also prevention • Cars in attached garages • Furnaces with cracked heat exchangers or leaking chimneys leaking gases into the ventilation system • Burning fuels for warmth, cooking, or decorative purposes, such as space heaters, gas ranges, gas water heaters, and fireplace • Emergency generators • FURNACE properly installed and maintained, ventilated. • Question for landlord. • Checked regularly? Should have tag on it. • Do not use range or stove for home heating purposes. • Do not burn any type of fuel in the home except firewood in an appropriately maintained and ventilated fireplace.
  11. 11. Insulation – until fully cured – could be exposed to isocyanate (powerful asthmagen)
  12. 12. Tightening House Envelope makes Ventilation Important • If it’s smart, it will save money • Cheaply done it will be noisy, unreliable, ineffective, and will simply push warm out and cold in at the wrong times. • Now they make them with heat exchange. • They make them smart, quiet, durable.
  13. 13. What you buy • You breathe • Air fresheners just cover up a smell – add chemicals • Try the safer cleaners • Green Seal, ULE, Safer Choice, Green Guard • Wet cleaning dry cleaners • BOOSTS SMALL, GOOD BUSINESSES
  14. 14. What you eat • Wholesome Wave - increasing affordable access to healthy produce - double the value of Food Stamps and Veggie Rx • League of Kitchens, bringing people of different origins together through food
  15. 15. HEALTHY HOMES includes: Indoor Air Quality - Mold - Radon - Combustion safety Integrated Pest Management Lead in water and soil as well as paint Environmentally Preferable Purchasing involves not adding extra toxics Flame retardants - Stain resistance - VOCs - Other heavy metals - Carcinogens - Asthmagens - Neurotoxins
  16. 16. Ask Questions • Has the place been tested for radon? (Required in Maine) • Has the water from the tap been tested (lead, copper, if from a well, more) • When will you address leaks, peeling paint in the hallway? • Will you use lead-safe workpractices? Please ask the contractor to tell me when the cleaning verification is to take place. • What do you think is the cause of the odor we smell, has the ductwork in the basement been checked? • When can we talk about covering the bare soil next to the house, as it tested high for lead? • When can we have CO monitors in the kitchen? • Ask these questions in writing as well as in person. • If there is retaliation for asking questions, seek legal help. • Document the interaction, with dates and witnesses. • Put in your response to an inadequate reply, or lack of a response, cc. at the bottom - to the AG or other public legal service, or to a private lawyer.