Your home is supposed to be the safest place your family can spend their time. After all, they’re with trusted relatives and they’re not rushing to cross busy streets on their way to school or work. However, your home is never completely safe. Many of the products you use in your daily life have hidden dangers that can make your home environment hazardous to your family’s health.
Here are some hidden hazards to look for in your home:
Image Source: Flickr
Carbon monoxide is one of the most dangerous hazards in your home. Faulty furnaces, gas stoves, gas generators and heaters powered by wood, kerosene or propane can all produce this deadly gas. To avoid having serious problems, make sure your fuel-burning appliances are inspected at least once per year and install CO alarms on each floor of your home, including your basement. Change the batteries in each alarm annually and replace the units every five years.
There’s scarcely a home anywhere that doesn’t use some type of chemical cleaners to keep the place looking and smelling fresh. Unfortunately, those artificial smells don’t do anything to make your home any healthier. In fact, they may be doing the exact opposite. One study from 2009 concluded that 24 out of 457 identifiable air contaminants caused cancer and other serious health problems. If that seems like a lot, consider that all 457 contaminants were produced by 21 different household cleaners.
Remember to ventilate your home whenever you’re using these products. Open at least one window and keep a fan running while you work. Don’t forget to read the directions carefully and familiarize yourself with the warning labels on each container. If it seems like too much trouble, look for some non-toxic alternatives online. You may even be able to make some yourself, if you can find instructions on how to do so.
Pesticides are designed to kill bugs and other household pests, but some of them are just as harmful to humans in the right quantities. They can be particularly dangerous for young children who have difficulty keeping foreign objects out of their mouths. Even mild exposure can cause headaches and dizziness. Heavier exposure can lead to nausea and muscle twitching. Long-term exposure has been linked to cancer and may cause severe damage to the central nervous system and reproductive system.
Other studies have shown that there may also be a link between certain pesticides and Parkinson’s disease. Although some individuals appear to be genetically susceptible to these problems, there’s no way to know whether you’re one of them or not. Elderly people with weak hearts and lungs are also at increased risk for irregular heartbeat or a heart attack.
Paints and Solvents
Another common hazard in many homes can be found in paints and the solvents used to dissolve them, such as turpentine, methanol and mineral spirits. Inhaling their fumes is bad for your heart and lungs. Over time, it can lead to irregular heartbeat. The reason they’re so harmful is because they contain substances called volatile organic compounds (VOC). If you look carefully at the labels, you might be able to find some VOC-free paints, which are much safer alternatives. In any case, always use and store your paints and solvents in ventilated areas.
Even if no one in your home smokes, it’s still possible for any member of your family to get lung cancer, due to radon gas. Radon is the most common cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and it can creep into your home from the soil it sits on. Radon monitors are available and if you find the levels in your home to be above safe standards, a radon abatement specialist can take care of the problem with special equipment for a substantial fee.
Like carbon monoxide, mold is another silent hazard that can lurk unseen in dark rooms and behind walls. Health problems can range from itching eyes and sneezing to asthma attacks and permanent lung damage. What’s even scarier is that even the cleanest-looking homes can harbor dangerous mold in areas that are exposed to sufficient moisture.
Sometimes this can be the result of flooding caused by leaking pipes or rainwater creeping into your home. In these types of cases, mold is best taken care of by professionals that have the proper training and equipment. Visit RestorationEze flood service for more information.
It’s up to you to make any changes that are necessary to keep your home safe for your family. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent most of these hazards from affecting anyone’s health. As for the rest, having the knowledge of what to look for and who to call in the event of a problem can make all the difference.
Connor O’Brien suffered with several allergies which were a bit of a mystery to him; until he realized he was actually allergic to his home! He now educates others on environmental health hazards through his articles.