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1 in 3 children live in unhealthy homes, warns ‘alarming’ report

(EurActiv, 16 Oct 2019) A third of European children live in damp, cold, dark or noisy homes, according to new findings released last week. Portugal is the worst offender in the EU, with one in two kids exposed to unhealthy conditions.

The state of our buildings and, in particular, their impact on human health is in the spotlight more and more, as new EU rules on renovations come into effect. A series of deep-dives into the issue of well-being have also raised awareness.

Danish window company Velux has supported five so-called Healthy Homes Barometers and 2019’s edition focused on how poorly designed or maintained buildings affect child health.

By using official data provided by Eurostat and SILC, research institute RAND concluded that 26 million European children live in conditions that put “them at higher risk of experiencing health problems”, such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.

The EU average is one in three, with Portugal performing the worst with a rate of one in two. Finland recorded the most positive result, with one in five children at risk.

Liberal MEP Morten Petersen said in a foreword to the report that “buildings are intended to be safe and healthy places for our children to grow up in. Therefore, it is alarming to read that 1 out of 3 European children live in unhealthy homes.”

The Danish lawmaker explained that the newly finalised European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is the solution to the problem, as it obligates EU members to come up with long-term strategies designed to retrofit out of date buildings.

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EurActiv, 16 Oct 2019: 1 in 3 children live in unhealthy homes, warns ‘alarming’ report