August 11, 2004 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson
LEXINGTON, Ky.

Most people want to have the safest, healthiest home possible. A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture exhibit at the 100th Kentucky State Fair will offer practical advice on how to make homes safe, clean and healthy.

“We’ll be offering tips and information cards about keeping the home safe,” said Kim Henken, Extension associate for environmental issues for the UK College of Agriculture. “We’ll have cards available for more than 50 subject areas.”

Some highlights of the home safety portion of the Healthy Homes exhibit are information about indoor safety, poison-proofing the home, outdoor safety and look-a-like products. An example of a look-a-like product is that red cold tablets may resemble cinnamon candy and motor oil may resemble honey. Many other look-a-likes will be highlighted.

Mold and excess moisture can be a problem in Kentucky homes and can trigger symptoms for those with allergies and asthma. The Healthy Homes exhibit aims to educate visitors about how to recognize mold and what to do if it is found. 

“Mold can be a trigger for asthma attacks, headaches, respiratory problems and cause hay fever symptoms,” said Linda Adler, Extension specialist for home furnishings for the UK College of Agriculture. “Even dead mold can cause allergic reactions, so people need to learn what it is, where to look for it and how to eliminate it.”

Mold can create indoor air quality problems along with other things like radon, carbon monoxide, lead paint, new housing and furnishing products, cigarette smoke and even dust. The Healthy Homes exhibit will detail these problems and give residents practical ways to minimize their impact.

“Controlling common air pollutants and allergen sources is the key to improving indoor air quality,” Adler said. “Smoking outside, regular vacuuming and dusting, fixing leaks and water problems and cleaning up messes and spills go a long way in improving air quality.”

In addition to home safety and allergy/asthma triggers, visitors can learn about how to prepare their homes and families for disasters and emergencies.

“We’ll be showing resources available to people concerning preparation, mitigation and recovery from natural and non-natural disasters,” said Tom Priddy, UK agricultural meteorologist and team member of Kentucky EDEN (Extension Disaster Education Network). “We’re recommending that all Kentuckians purchase a weather radio, preferably those with SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) since the Department of Homeland Security is now working with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to provide bioterrorism alerts all over the United States. We know that NOAA weather radio reaches about 97 percent of the U.S. population.”

Fairgoers can see examples of simple family disaster preparedness kits that contain items such as essential medications, water, food, flashlights and other items that may be helpful in emergencies and disasters. For more information about what exhibits will be shown each day, contact Kim Henken at (859) 257-7775.

The Healthy Homes exhibit will be in the South Wing of the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center on Main Street. The exhibit will be a centerpiece, island-type display with 360-degree exposure and will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily during the fair. The 100th Kentucky State Fair runs from Aug. 19 to Aug. 29.

Contact: 

Writer: Aimee D. Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Source: Kim Henken 859-257-7775