In this article five of these hazards are described, alongside ways to eliminate them, so arm yourself with knowledge to avoid their devastating effects.
Mold is a well-known and common problem in the home, and it can wreak havoc on otherwise healthy people. Those allergic to it suffer the most, typically in the form of flu-like symptoms and respiratory problems.
Severe reactions can be life-threatening. A small growth of mold is generally not a problem, since mold is always in the air, but the larger the collection gets, the worse it will affect anyone living inside.
Mold loves moist environments, so expect it to grow in leaky places and wet spots like the bathroom. Mold remediation is best left in the hand of trained professionals, since they can remove the growth as well as treat any areas that could cause continued problems. Once all trace of the substance is removed and checked for hygiene, you’re safe.
This radioactive gas kills thousands every year by seeping from decaying uranium deposits in the ground. Radon causes lung cancer, but it’s only a problem when it gets caught inside a building.
You can easily check for it by buying a testing kit online or at a hardware store; like radon itself, they’re common and widely available. If the results aren’t promising, a professional can perform additional tests and retrofit your home to reduce contamination.
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Another cancer-causing substance, asbestos can still be found in older homes through building and insulation materials. This mineral causes cancer and disease mostly in the lungs, and since it’s still not banned in many applications, it poses a high risk. Most asbestos poisoning happens in the workplace, but if you have concerns, consult a professional about asbestos remediation. Any asbestos spots should be left intact in the meantime to avoid spreading it further.
VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, abound in the forms of liquids and gases, often from chemicals around the inside of a home. Paints, thinners, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and other products are all sources. Short- and long-term effects range from irritation, headaches, and nausea to internal organ damage and increased risks of cancer. The EPA recommends ample ventilation and cutting back on products containing VOCs, alongside storing these materials properly. Be especially sure to keep them away from children and pets.
Fires are a well-known hazard, but the number of ways in which they can strike makes them severely dangerous. They can start anywhere in a home, with kitchens being the leading cause of fires; heating and electrical equipment come close, and with them scattered around the average home, the entire house could be at risk. It’s tantamount for home owners to have fire escape plans, extinguishers, working smoke alarms, and an attentive eye to areas that could cause a fire. Watch any sources of heat and electrical outlets for weaknesses.
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There are other risks out there, like lead and carbon monoxide, but these five hazards can be devastating without a homeowner even knowing they exist. They affect millions of homes today, but if you think your home could have one of these problems, don’t delay addressing the issue and removing it. Your home should be a safe and healthy place, so being aware of what could change that will help prevent any homegrown disasters.