Keeping your home safe and secure is essential for the well-being of your family. Unfortunately, many things in your house can pose health hazards you may not be aware of. From asbestos in the attic to lead paint on the walls, here is a look at some of the most common health hazards in the home – and how to deal with them.
Health Hazards in the Home: Radon Gas
Radon gas is an odorless, colorless gas created from uranium decaying in soil, rock, and water. It can enter your home through cracks in the foundation or basement walls and cause serious lung cancer if left unchecked. The only way to know if radon gas is in your home is to have it tested. If levels are high, hire a professional to install a ventilation system that will move radon gases safely away from your living space.
Builders commonly used lead-based paint in homes constructed before 1978, when it was banned due to health concerns. Lead paint may be on doorframes and windowsills, but there’s also a chance it could be behind wallpaper or a newer layer of paint. Lead paint can cause health issues such as cognitive damage and behavioral problems, especially in young children. If you think you have lead paint in your home, contact an experienced contractor certified in safe work practices for lead removal.
Basements and bathrooms are particularly vulnerable areas for mold growth because these rooms experience higher humidity levels. If you see signs of mold growth, such as discoloration on walls or a musty smell, use an EPA-registered spray cleaner designed specifically for mold remediation. You may also want to hire a professional contractor specializing in mold removal if the problem persists after cleaning up affected areas with a bleach solution or vinegar solution (1 part vinegar mixed with three parts water).
Asbestos Building Materials in the Home are Health Hazards
Asbestos is a mineral used in many building materials due to its fire-resistant properties. However, it can be hazardous when disturbed or damaged. Health concerns arise from inhaling asbestos fibers, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and cancer.
It is essential to test for asbestos if there are any suspicions of it being present in your home. The most common places these materials are found include insulation around pipes, heating ducts and furnaces, roofing shingles, tile floors and ceilings, textured paints, and wall coverings used before 1977. It is also important to ensure that these materials remain undisturbed so that they do not release particles into the air.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality can create health concerns. Everything from dust and pollen to mold spores and pet dander can contribute to an environment that is hazardous to your family’s health. Poor air quality leads to asthma attacks, insomnia, respiratory issues like bronchitis, or other symptoms such as headaches, eye irritation, and fatigue.
Indoor air pollutants are created from many sources, including everyday products within the home, such as cleaning supplies, aerosol sprays, paint, and adhesives. To improve air quality, open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate, use bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans, and purchase air purification machines for sleeping areas.
While many DIY home improvements are possible without the help of professionals, hazardous substances are best handled by a trained professional. Don’t risk exposing yourself and your family members to harmful materials in the house. Preventive measures help ensure your home remains healthy and safe for years.