As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to keep your living spaces safe and healthy. What exactly qualifies as a health hazard? Once you identify a concern in your home, how do you remedy the situation? Here are five common health hazards found in a home and what you can do to mitigate them.
1. Poor Indoor Air Quality is a Health Hazards in a Home
One of modern homes’ most common health hazards is poor indoor air quality. According to the EPA, the air inside our homes can be two to five times more polluted than the outdoors. And since we spend between 60% to 90% of our time indoors, air quality can affect our well-being.
Many things contribute to poor indoor air quality, including off-gassing from building materials and furniture, household cleaning products, candles and incense, and even commercial air fresheners. To improve air quality in your home, make sure you’re ventilating the house, using natural cleaning products and air fresheners, and avoiding materials or products that release harmful chemicals into the air.
2. Lead-Based Paint
If your home was built before 1978, it might contain lead paint. When lead paint starts to chip or flake, it releases lead dust into the air. When inhaled, it causes health issues like learning disabilities and behavior problems, especially in young children. If you live in an older home with lead paint, avoid sanding the paint (which will release lead dust into the air), and clean any areas where the paint is chipping or flaking regularly. If you’re uncertain, have your home tested for lead by a licensed professional.
3. Health Hazards in a Home: Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used in everything from insulation to flooring to shingles. Today, asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer and other serious health problems. If you live in an older home, there’s a chance that asbestos-containing materials are present in its construction. To find out for sure, hire a professional to test your home. If asbestos is present, don’t remove it yourself; hire a certified company to take care of it safely.
4. Mold Growth
Mold is another common and dangerous health hazard found in many homes. It thrives in damp environments like basements and bathrooms, and exposure can cause respiratory problems, including coughing and difficulty breathing. To prevent mold growth in your home, keep rooms clean and free of clutter, ventilate damp areas like kitchens and bathrooms, and promptly repair leaks. If you find mold growing in the house, don’t try to remove it yourself. It’s best to hire a professional remediation company to remove large patches of mold.
5. Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas produced when a fuel burns, meaning it could be in your home without you knowing it. Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and even death, so take steps to prevent it from building up in your home. Have all fuel-burning appliances (like furnaces and water heaters) regularly serviced by a licensed professional; never use generators or grills indoors, and install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home (ideally near sleeping areas).
These are just a few common home health hazards today, but this list is far from exhaustive. To protect yourself and your family from these dangers, stay informed about what they are and what you can do to mitigate these issues in your home.