Most people think of their home as a place where they are safe, comfortable, and in control of their environment. However, you’d be surprised how many dangers can lurk in your home, some of which you can’t even see until you actually look for them. There are many chemicals that can harm your health if you ignore their presence, and here are six you should know about.
1. Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, but extremely dangerous. It’s a gas that usually goes unnoticed until the damage is already done. Some symptoms of exposure include headaches, nausea, and dizziness, and being exposed to it for too long can in some cases even be fatal. The accidents most often happen in winter, when people don’t ventilate their living areas much, and when heating appliances break down. A good way to prevent any accidents would be to install CO detectors and occasionally inspect your heating appliances for any gas leaks.
The lead was mostly used in paint before the ban in 1978, but it still poses a threat, especially if you live in an old home that was painted before that date. It can also be found in water that goes through old pipes, which is another thing to keep in mind if you live in an old house. Side effects of the exposure to lead include joint pain, headaches, increased blood pressure, memory problems, and in some cases, even brain damage. Research has shown that it can also increase your stress levels, so the list of potential health problems is quite long. So, if you live in an older house, get a professional to remove old lead paint, change your plumbing if possible, and get a lead-removing water filter. Also, improve your diet, as people who eat healthily, have been shown to absorb less lead.
3. Asbestos fibers
Asbestos was thought to be a perfect insulating material for a very long time because of its dense structure. It was used in floor tiles, roofs, and even some plumbing elements. However, it was soon discovered that all those micro-fibers that make it so dense can cause some serious respiratory issues when inhaled. In some cases, they can even lead to cancer. If you do discover asbestos in your home, make sure to consult with a professional environmental consultant about the best and safest way to remove it. For example, Australia has taken its residential asbestos problem seriously on all levels, from state governments to private initiatives. Asbestos air monitoring professionals in Sydney are having their hands full and asbestos removal projects in this city have doubled in the past five years.
Just like carbon monoxide, radon is also odorless, colorless, and tasteless. However, it is also radioactive, which means that it can lead to serious health issues, most notably, lung cancer. It can get into your home from the ground through cracks in the flooring or floor drains. To minimize your chances of being exposed to this dangerous chemical, make sure to test your home for radon every year. When detected, the levels can be reduced fairly easily by sealing any cracks in the foundation and installing a pressurization fan that would blow the air from the upper levels of your home to the lower ones.
Mold can occur when there is a high level of humidity in your home and when there’s a lot of moisture in general. It can spread very easily, and it often goes undetected because it spreads behind your walls. Some of the health issues that mold can cause are asthma attacks and irritation in the eyes and nasal passages. You can prevent the occurrence of mold in your home by ventilating your home frequently, installing dehumidifiers, and inspecting your plumbing for any leaks.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a harmful chemical most often found in plastic containers, plastic bags, receipts, and in the lining of food and beverage cans. BPA has been linked to miscarriage, breast cancer, obesity, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, and many other health problems. In 1930, BPA was used as a synthetic estrogen, which means that it can also lead to early puberty in girls and fertility problems in both genders. Therefore, to reduce your exposure to BPA consider using metal or glass containers, and if you’re using any plastic containers, make sure they are BPA-free. Buy fresh or frozen foods whenever you can, and use BPA-free water bottles. Also, wash your hands after handling receipts.
As safe as you think you are in your own home, there are still many invisible dangers that can harm your health if you ignore them for too long. Therefore, do your research, don’t use plastic more than you need to, make sure to check your home for the above-listed chemicals, and if you do find any of them, call a professional to help you get rid of them quickly and safely.