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The I-Codes: Building Resilient Health continued the relationship between the built environment and occupant mental health. The I-Codes also address physical health factors inside homes and commercial structures. The number one cause of fire-related deaths is smoke inhalation rather than burns. Smoke from structural fires contains thousands of deadly compounds, chemicals and carcinogens. The IBC requires smoke detectors and regulates types and quantities of corrosive and hazardous building materials used in construction. The International Fire Code® (IFC) regulates storage of hazardous materials as related to fire prevention and combustion. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 500 people die from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) exposure in the United States every year. In addition, the CDC also estimates that 8,000 to 15,000 people each year are examined or treated in hospitals for non-fire related CO poisoning.” Thanks to the I-Codes and their regional predecessors, using toxic gas detectors is now commonplace in most buildings. Every day, Americans are protected by the I-Codes against silent health threats. The codes even address health hazards outside the home. In the last two decades, the United States has seen an explosion in insect-borne diseases, including West Nile virus, Lyme disease and now, the Zika virus. The Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. The real danger of this disease is to pregnant women. The Zika virus can cause microcephaly, a medical condition which can cause abnormally small heads and severe fetal brain defects. Local jurisdictions can contribute to the mitigation of this virus by adopting and enforcing the International Property Maintenance Code® (IPMC). The provisions in Chapter 3 of the 2015 IPMC, when enforced by local jurisdictions, can assist in the slowing down of the spread of this virus (and other infectious diseases) by requiring property owners meet certain minimum standards in the upkeep of their property. The provisions of this code apply to both residential and commercial structures. For example, Section 304.14 specifically addresses insect screens. In part, this subsection states, “every door, window and other outside opening required for ventilation of habitable rooms, food preparation areas, food service areas, or any areas where products to be included or utilized in food for human consumption are processed, manufactured, packaged or stored, shall be supplied with approved tightly fitting screens of not less than 16 mesh per square inch and every swinging door shall have a self-closing device in good working condition.” The I-Codes are a first step toward battling Zika and other potentially catastrophic pandemics. The aforementioned examples are just a small sample of the countless occupant health benefits found in the I-Codes, evidence that strong, updated and properly implemented building codes also can help build resilient minds and bodies. People Helping People Build a Safer World® —*ADVERTISEMENT— Advance Your Career at ICC Institutes Learn how to effectively apply the codes and build your professional network. Led by experts at locations throughout the U.S., ICC’s multi-day, interactive Institutes go in-depth on single topics. Earn CEUs, network with peers, and expand your expertise. Available topics include: • When Disaster Strikes • Residential Inspection • Plan Review • Code Official • Permit Technician • Fire & Life Safety • Leadership Preview the 2017 schedule now: www.iccsafe.org/InstitutePreview OCTOBER 2016 | 11 16-13166


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