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Health and Fitness News

Hidden Home Dangers

Are there things lurking in your home that could be harming your health?

Like they say, there’s no place like home. And if you’re like most people, your home is likely the place where you spend most of your time. Meant to be a place of security, acceptance, and rest, you want your home to be a safe place to live and raise a family. Unfortunately, some homes actually pose safety and health hazards to occupants. Maybe you know some of the dangers, but there may be some lurking around and you’re not aware.

Ready to be aware of the potential problems lurking in your home that could be negatively affecting your health? Keep reading to learn a few of the most common.

1. Lead

There’s a good chance that a home built before 1978 contains lead-based paint. Even if it’s been covered over by layers of lead-free paint, it can still pose risks if exposed due to poor maintenance, chipping, flaking, or dust that results from household repairs. Even a small amount of lead poisoning due to ingestion or inhalation is dangerous. Lead can also be found in water, toys, ceramics, or the soil in your yard.

More than half a million children in the United States develop lead poisoning each year. Lead harms the brain and can cause long-term learning disabilities and behavioral problems. If you live in an old home, have your home tested by a certified lead paint inspector. Children should be tested at one and two years of age. Any home repairs should be done with caution.

2. Mold and Dust

Asthma affects an estimated 10 percent of children. This chronic inflammatory lung condition causes shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing. Triggers in the home cause an estimated 40 percent of asthma attacks. Two of the most common are mold and dust mites. Other triggers include smoke from cigarettes or fireplaces; cockroaches; space heaters; and chemical irritants from things like cleaning supplies, paint, or cosmetics. Mold can also cause allergy symptoms, rashes, coughing, wheezing, eye or skin irritation, or hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Take steps to reduce the presence of asthma and allergy triggers in your home and live a healthier, happier life. Properly clean any visible mold, repair water leaks, keep your home’s humidity level between 30 and 50 percent, encase pillows and mattresses in covers, and regularly wash all bedding in hot water.

3. Radon

You can’t smell it, taste it, or see it, but radon may be in your home putting you at risk for lung cancer. A radioactive gas, radon comes from the soil and makes its way into your home through cracks in the floors or walls or through spaces around pipes. And no level of radon is safe. Next to cigarette smoking, radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Have your home tested for radon and take steps necessary for reducing exposure.

4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Known as VOCs, volatile organic compounds are chemical gases released from certain liquid and solid products found in your home. Paints, cleaning supplies, glues, certain cosmetics, pesticides, and building materials all release VOCs when used. High levels can lead to headache or dizziness; eye, nose, or throat irritation; nausea; and asthma. Long-term exposure can increase your risk of liver or kidney damage, cancer, or damage to your nervous system.

When using chemicals like the ones listed above, follow the label’s directions for use, open windows or go outside, never mix products, don’t store opened cans of paint in your home, and keep all chemicals out of the reach of children.


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