When you own a home, it’s essential to be aware of the potential dangers that could be present. Some hazardous materials, like lead-based paint on your walls or asbestos insulation in the attic, are not so obvious. Learn about these health hazards in the home and take steps to remedy them, so your home is safer for you and your family.
Lead-based paint was a common material in homes before 1978. If you live in an older house, there’s a good chance lead paint is present. Lead-based paint can cause developmental issues in children. It is considered dangerous when the paint begins to chip or flake because it’s easier to ingest or inhale. If you think there may be lead paint in your home, have it tested by a professional. If lead paint is present and in bad condition, the best course of action is to have it removed by a certified lead abatement contractor.
Health Hazards in the Home: Mold Growth
Mold growth can occur in any home, but it’s more likely in homes with high humidity or water leaks. Mold may cause respiratory and other health problems, so deal with it as soon as you notice it. The best way to prevent mold growth is to clean your home, repair water leaks promptly, and use a dehumidifier to manage humidity levels.
Poor Air Quality
Many things affect indoor air quality, including dust mites, pet dander, pollen, cleaning chemicals, and secondhand smoke. Poor air quality may lead to respiratory problems in you or your family members. Take steps to improve your home’s air quality, including regularly vacuuming, using dust mite covers on mattresses and pillows, washing bedding in hot water weekly, and using an air purifier.
Asbestos was used extensively in homes built before 1980. It was present in building materials such as insulation, siding, and even flooring tiles because it is durable and fire-resistant. Asbestos becomes dangerous if the particles are airborne, making them easier to inhale. If you suspect asbestos may be present in your home, do not try to remove it yourself; instead, call a certified professional to remove the product safely.
Health Hazards in the Home: Radon
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. Radon exposure is a leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers in the United States. Because it is colorless and odorless, testing for radon is necessary to verify your home is safe. If levels are high, hire a radon mitigation company to design and install a system to circulate the gas out of your living spaces.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are in many household products like cleaners, paints, pesticides, and air fresheners. They can also come from burning candles or gas stoves. VOCs can cause eye and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. To reduce VOCs in your home, choose cleaning products and building materials with low VOC levels, avoid aerosols or aerosol-based products, open windows when cleaning, and don’t allow smoking inside your home.
Be aware of these hazards so you can mitigate them and keep your family safe and healthy. Hire a professional to test for substances, including lead-based paint, radon, and asbestos. You’ll promote well-being and feel peace of mind knowing your home is safe.