Minority Health Archive

Housing and Health

Rauh, Virginia A. and Landrigan, Philip J. and Claudio, Luz (2008) Housing and Health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1136 (1). pp. 276-288. ISSN 00778923

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Abstract

The importance of adequate housing for the maintenance of health and well-being has long been a topic of scientific and public health policy discussion, but the links remain elusive. Here we explore the role of the residential environment in the etiology of illness (specifically asthma) and the persistence of socioeconomic health disparities. Housing conditions, shaped by social forces, affect exposure to physical and chemical "toxicants," thereby translating social adversities into individual illness and population health disparities. We discuss the mediating role of housing in determining health outcomes at multiple levels (social-structural, neighborhood, and individual family). To date, little attention has been paid by most environmental health scientists to the social-structural conditions underlying gross inequities in the distribution of toxic exposures, with even less attention to the processes whereby these social conditions may directly affect susceptibility to the toxic exposures themselves. This chapter goes beyond traditional medical and environmental science models to incorporate a range of social and physical determinants of environmental pollutions, illustrating how these conditions result in health and illness. We focus here on childhood asthma as an example of a serious public health problem that has been associated with low income, minority status, and characteristics of the home environment. We end the chapter with a discussion of the environmental justice movement and the role of housing as a potential agent of change and focus of interventions aimed to reduce the harmful effects of environmental pollutants.


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Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available at the publisher’s Web site. Access to the full text is subject to the publisher’s access restrictions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: socioeconomic health disparities, adequate housing, public health policy
Subjects: Health > Health Equity
Health > Disparities
Health > Policy
Health > Public Health
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Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2011 16:53
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 16:53
Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/id/eprint/3041

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