Our health is one of our most precious possessions and it should be taken seriously. We often think that our homes are safe and secure, but there can be hidden risks we may not know about. Some of these health-related risks found in the home include exposure to harmful chemicals, lead-based paint, radon gas, and more.
It is important to understand the potential health risks that exist in any home. This way, we can take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our families. Here are some of the most common health risks found in homes:
- Radon gas– Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can be found in any home. It has no smell, taste, or color, so it may go undetected until it’s too late. The danger of radon is that long-term exposure to high levels can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. To minimize your exposure to radon, it is important to test your home for radon and to install a ventilation system if necessary.
- Lead-based paint– Many homes built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint on the walls and other surfaces. If this paint peels or chips off, it can cause serious health risks such as brain damage, kidney disease, and more. To reduce the risk of exposure to lead-based paint, it is important to have your home inspected for any signs of lead-based color before you move in or renovate.
- Asbestos– Asbestos can be found in some homes built before 1980 as insulation or fireproofing. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and sometimes fatal diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and more. To reduce your risk of exposure to asbestos, it is important to hire a professional to inspect any suspected materials and have them removed safely if needed.
- Bacteria and viruses– Bacteria and viruses can be present in the home, especially on surfaces that are not regularly cleaned. To reduce your risk of exposure to these pathogens, it is important to practice good hygiene and regularly clean high-touch surfaces with disinfectant.
- Mold and mildew– Did you know mold and mildew can cause serious health risks such as allergies, respiratory issues, and cancer? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is important to take steps to eliminate mold growth in your home by keeping humidity levels low, making sure all plumbing leaks are fixed and repairing any water damage that may occur.
- Household cleaners and chemicals– Many household cleaners and chemicals contain toxins that can be hazardous to your health. To reduce your risk of exposure to these, it is important to read labels on products, keep them out of reach from children, and use appropriate protective gear when using them.
- Secondhand smoke– Secondhand smoke is a known carcinogen. To protect yourself and your loved ones from the risks of secondhand smoke, it is important to keep smoking away from the home or to quit altogether if possible.
- Poor air quality– Poor air quality can be caused by things like mold, poor ventilation, dust, and more. To reduce your risk of exposure to poor air quality, it is important to regularly inspect your home for any signs of inadequate air flow or other issues that could be causing poor indoor air quality. It is also important to take steps like using filters in the HVAC system and avoiding the use of products that contain VOCs.
- Carbon monoxide– Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly if inhaled. To reduce your risk of exposure to carbon monoxide, it is important to install a carbon monoxide detector in the home and to have any fuel-burning appliances inspected regularly by a professional.
- Pets– Yes, you read it right! Pets can pose a health risk in the home due to things like fur or dander, bacteria, viruses, and more. To reduce your risk of exposure to pet-related hazards, it is essential to practice good hygiene and regularly clean any surfaces that may come in contact with pets. All your pets should also be kept up to date on their vaccinations and deworming medications.
By being aware of these common health risks in the home and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure that your home is a safe place for you and your family to enjoy.