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Moms In Motion: Is Your Green House Making Your Family Sick?

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MORGANTOWN -

Between remodeling older houses and building new ones, it's estimated that millions of more homes in the U.S. will get greener over the next four years.

But in our efforts to save money and protect the environment, we've created some unintended consequences.

"For every solution, there's a problem, said Dr. Nathan Rabinovitch. "Energy efficiency is really, really important, at the same time, what's staying in the house is staying in the house."

Dr. Rabinovitch is an asthma expert at National Jewish Health in Denver. He said since 1970, asthma rates in the U.S. have nearly tripled; a problem that he believes begins at home.

To put his theory to the test, Dr. Rabinovitch had students carry air monitors for several weeks; not only at home, but on their way to and from school. After analyzing the quality of the air they were exposed to 24 hours a day, the worst was where you might expect it least.

"The amount of pollution that they were being exposed to was higher inside the home than outside the home for many of the kids," he said.

That doesn't surprise Hope Duncan. After her son Jack nearly died from an asthma attack, she learned that from dust to mold to pet dander, dangers can lurk almost anywhere in our homes.

"You never know what's underneath the carpet that you have, you know from pets or from water damage," Duncan said. "And so there can be things underneath growing that we don't know about."

Changing air filters and cleaning your home often can help cut down on breathing problems, but the best way to control indoor air pollution is to look outdoors.

Simply opening your windows can help dry out and clear out all the things that might be making you sick.

If you or a family member suffers from asthma, doctors said two issues you should address first are smokers and family pets, both can trigger serious asthma attacks, especially in children and older adults.

For more causes of indoor air pollution and tips to deal with them, go to www.nationaljewish.org and click on "News."