What makes a healthy home in San Diego? Our team would tell you reducing energy costs and making your home toxic-free is a fantastic place to start. But how? 

Silvia León, an EHC Healthy Homes advocate, visits homes door-to-door and educates residents on the small changes in daily habits that can have an enormous impact on health and the environment with less reliance on polluting power plants, lowered instances of child respiratory illnesses and cleaner air.

León brings with her simple tool kits coined "Healthy Homes kits", which contain: 

  • efficient light bulbs that provide immediate savings
  • a timer for the shower to help people understand hot-water consumption
  • fridge and stove thermometers to help tell when an appliance needs an adjustment or to be traded in

Her home visits teach families how to read and comprehend their energy meters and bills, provide customized room-by-room energy savings action plans and track energy and gas consumption.

One resident working with León, Jerry Guzman, saw drastic reductions in his energy and gas use. Living in a four-bedroom house with his family, prior to the education program they were using about 977 kilowatt-hours of energy a month. After going through EHC's program, they reduced their energy use by 36 percent.

"Prior to EHC working with my family, we had no idea about the easy ways to save energy," Guzman said. "Now I know how to read my energy bill and can better track my family's energy usage."

Results like the Guzman family saw were common among most families that León visited. León says that saving money motivated families as well as the desire to reduce demand of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions – helping to combat climate change and air pollution often seen in their communities.

In addition to putting their energy savings toward other things, such as school supplies or family activities, the major takeaway from this community work is the family's commitment to applying their new habits over the long term as they understand their role in protecting the health of their home, neighborhoods and the planet.

To evaluate your own energy usage, conduct a home energy assessment or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.


Although we use pesticides to get rid of unwelcome home guests, they are toxic to both the intruders and the people who live there, especially children. The use of pesticides indoors is extremely risky considering ventilation in most homes is relatively poor and people spend many hours a day at home, breathing these chemicals in long after they've been used.


Pesticides are not the only way to control pests in your home. Follow the toxic-free pest control method and protect your family without the use of pesticides!

1. Use preventive methods first: Start by sealing food in tight-fitting containers, not letting dirty dishes pile up, taking the trash out regularly, groom pets and routinely sweep and vacuum.
2. Monitor your pest population to discover when, why and where they come from: Look in drawers, along walls and under the kitchen sink for their droppings or trails.
3. When preventive measures are not providing enough control, use the least toxic methods.

Depending on which pest is giving you a problem, there are several different options.

Ants: Diatomaceous earth (look for the garden grade, not the pool grade) is a dehydrating powder that kills insects on contact. Sprinkle it in carpets or around doors and windows.

Fleas: Effective control of fleas requires an organized plan with attention to fleas in the carpet, on the animal and in the yard. Soap and water traps for flea control in the house are extremely effective. In recent years, new products are available over the counter or from a veterinarian for use directly on pets such as Frontline Top Spot, Revolution or Advantage. Experience shows animals tolerate these well, but they aren't entirely non-toxic so keep them away from small children. For outdoors, an insecticidal soap product can be used to discourage flea growth in your yard.

Cockroaches: Boric acid is a moderately toxic, noncorrosive powder found in many commercial brands (look for 99% boric acid) carried in hardware stores and garden centers. Sprinkle it in cracks and crevices and behind furniture. IT IS TOXIC BY MOUTH: do not put it where children and pets can get to it.

Termites: Termite exterminators currently rely on Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride) for whole house fumigation and Dursban (chlorpyrifos) for spot treatment – both of which are toxic to the nervous system. EHC suggests removal or repair of infested wood, whole house heat, cold treatment and spot treatment with electricity, limonene or other citrus derivatives. Call EHC for more information on termite control.

Garden Pests (insect and weeds): Adhesive products and traps with sticky barriers are good for catching unwanted garden insects. Soap and water, inorganic dusts and oil spray are also good solutions to eliminate most insects, fungi and weeds.

Pesticides should be a last resort for pest management. Please contact EHC for more specific information on controlling unwanted guests without sacrificing the health of your family members and your home.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013: A day to be remembered in San Diego history as the day Barrio Logan secured a safe and healthier future with the adoption of a new community plan. With City Council's approval late Tuesday night, environmental justice was restored to Barrio Logan while faith was restored among residents and community members after years of inequality.

Alternative 1 30For the past thirty years, toxic industries have encroached on Barrio Logan, polluting the air and putting the neighborhood at a less than desirable spot in the top five percent of vulnerability in the state.

"This is a community that has been asked to make room for everything," Georgette Gómez, associate director of EHC, told City Councilmembers. "We strongly believe that Alternative 1 encompasses everything that is needed. Now you have the opportunity to do what is right for both communities. Now is the time to validate the people that live here. We urge you to please adopt Alternative 1."

Alternative 1 9

Yesterday, hundreds of people packed into City Council Chambers to show support for an update to the Barrio Logan Community Plan – which hasn't seen any modifications in over three decades.

Alternative 1 19

EHC and community leaders addressed City Council in person to put a face to Alternative 1. They shared the treasures of Barrio Logan and the struggles industrial pollution has continued to impose on their neighborhoods and families.

Alternative 1 4

At the end of the evening, City Council finally voted in favor of Alternative 1 with a 5-4 split.

Alternative 1 20EHC would like to personally thank Councilmember David Alvarez for his leadership and commitment to a vibrant economy and a healthy community and thanks to Councilmembers Marti Emerald, Sherri Lightner, Myrtle Cole and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria for their support.

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"This is an amazing milestone for the community of Barrio Logan, which has faced decades of neglect, a patchwork of incompatible uses and has long suffered from a disproportionate burden of pollution," states Councilmember David Alvarez. "The community has been denied environmental justice; facing enchroachment, traffic impacts, lack of public amenitites and services. With today's approval we take a step forward addressing those impacts and building a vibrant based on the multifaceted character of the community."

Alternative 1 24Barrio Logan's newly approved community plan designates a separate heavy industrial zone away from homes and schools. With this clear distinction between industrial and residential zones, along with a buffer zone that incorporates office buildings and parking structures, Barrio Logan can finally regain a safe place to live, work and play.

Alternative 1 22EHC proudly stands by Alternative 1 and fighting to take this first big step towards restoring an important piece of San Diego's history and culture. After thirty years, Barrio Logan residents and future residents can look forward to the toxic-free neighborhood they deserve.

"The Better Barrio" – A three-part blog series highlighting a time when Logan Heights flourished and enriched all of San Diego.

Looking at Barrio Logan today, one may not know it was once one of the most thriving and desirable destinations in all of San Diego. Long before industrial businesses stood between family homes and schools, Barrio Logan, once known as Logan Heights, had some of the highest housing stock in the area and was considered one of the best parts of San Diego. It has been noted that some of San Diego's most prominent families and politicians settled in Logan Heights in the early 1900s, around the time of major commercial railroad development.

Barrio Logan First Train

The railroads connected San Diego as never before and brought industry, people and money to the thriving area. Soon after, the local businesses began to grow and diversify and more houses were built. The community flourished in the early years of the 20th century before automobile industrialization and the subsequent construction of the I-5 freeway, which very literally divided the community in half.

Since the 1950s, the community has longed to return to its happier and healthier days. We have a chance to put our neighborhood back on its path to a prosperous future by supporting Alternative 1 for the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update on September 17th.

Alternative 1 is the community-supported option for our neighborhood to make the positive changes Barrio Logan has needed for decades and become a desirable and toxic-free San Diego destination once again.

Please join us at City Council (202 C Street, San Diego, CA. 92101) on Tuesday, September 17th at 2 p.m. to restore an important piece of San Diego history.


"The Better Barrio" – A three-part blog series highlighting a time when Logan Heights flourished and enriched all of San Diego.

Coronet TheaterPrior to the toxic-air pollution and mixed land-use patterns, Barrio Logan, once known as Logan Heights, stood strong as a healthy and thriving neighborhood.

During World War II the Coronet Theater opened in the heart of the community at 1796 Logan Avenue, and became extremely popular- especially among children. The theater played a variety of child-friendly movies and was well known for supporting local clubs such as Los Gallos. Los Gallos often put on free cartoon shows at the theater for kids.

Eventually, Coronet Theater became a community landmark that grew to host more than just movies, but also popular Latino performers and movie stars when they traveled to San Diego.

Barrio Logan was once a primary destination for San Diego performers and fans alike, and we have the opportunity now to restore our rich community culture.

Please sign our letter and support Alternative 1 for the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update and join us on Tuesday at City Council, 2 p.m. at 202 C Street, San Diego, CA. 92101, to put our community on the right path to a promising and healthy future.

Barrio Logan is one of the oldest in San Diego and rich with history - we deserve a chance to become the thriving community we once were, and it starts with Alternative 1.