Three Things in your Home that May be Hurting your Health

August 23, 2017Diana Lengerson

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Your home is your sanctuary. It’s where you feel safe and comfortable, where you rest and recharge. It’s also where you keep your most beloved possessions. But your home could also be hiding secret health dangers you aren’t even aware of. Especially if you live in an older home that hasn’t been updated or you are renovating. There are ways you can identify these dangers, and protect the health of you and your loved ones.

Lead

Older homes built before 1978 may have lead-based paint on the walls. Removing or disturbing this paint can cause lead poisoning. If the paint is undisturbed or well covered, health risks are minimal. In this case, leaving the paint as is, or covering it may be the safest alternative. But if the lead paint is chipping or flaking it can pose serious health concerns. Children absorb lead more easily than adults so they have the greatest risk of developing lead-related health issues. To find out if your home contains lead paint, you can send samples to a lab for analysis or hire a certified inspector. To remove lead paint safely, ensure everything is out of the room and it is well sealed off from the rest of the house. Lead dust is also toxic, so do not use sanders, heat guns or any other tools that will create significant amounts of dust. Always wear protective equipment and take frequent breaks in fresh air.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that can be found in some building materials in older homes. If your home was built before 1990, it could contain products that use asbestos. Some products that could contain asbestos include floor and ceiling tiles, roof shingles and flashing, siding, and insulation. When materials are in good condition and the asbestos fibres are not disturbed, it does not pose a health risk. But when the fibres are released into the air it can become a serious health hazard. The dangerous effects of exposure to asbestos are well known. Long-term or high concentration exposure can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Chest pain, shortness of breath and chronic coughing are all signs of mesothelioma. Reduce your risk of exposure by always hiring a professional to test for asbestos when doing any renovations or purchasing an older home.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas that is created by burning fuels such as oil, coal, wood, gas or propane. Generators, charcoal grills, cooking appliances and vehicle exhaust can also create Carbon Monoxide, especially when used in unventilated areas. The gas can be found at any time, but the risk is often higher in cold weather and during power outages. Because we are unable to detect Carbon Monoxide, it can often cause health issues before we are even aware of its presence. Exposure to the gas can cause headaches, dizziness, chest pain, and poor vision. At very high levels it can lead to convulsions, coma or even death. A Carbon Monoxide alarm is the best way to protect your home and loved ones from this dangerous gas.

Caution should always be used when encountering any of these products in your home. Consult a professional and always use certified materials when doing renovations or repairs.

 

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