Many of us are exposed to a variety of hazardous chemicals, even within the safety of our own homes. Over the years, these “hidden” substances can affect our health in several ways. Below is a list of some of the most notable of these dangers, including tips on how to prevent them:
1. Lead causes serious health issues and can often be found in lead-based paints (in older homes), soil, dust and tap water (if your home has lead pipes). Have your family tested for lead levels, and if you do have an older home, hire a certified contractor to remove lead paint.
2. Mold exposure is especially harmful to those with respiratory diseases. It grows in damp areas with poor ventilation. Always hire a professional company to remove any existing mold.
3. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas released from burning organic fuel in wood stoves, fireplaces, gas heaters and other heating devices. Proper ventilation is imperative to prevent CO contamination. Install a CO detector in your home and hire a professional to service your furnace.
4. Pesticides contain toxins that account for most childhood poisonings. Always store pesticides in a locked cabinet and away from children. Follow the instructions on the label and wash your hands after each use.
5. Salmonella and E. Coli are bacteria transmitted through contaminated raw foods like meat and vegetables. Keep meat and vegetables separate in the refrigerator and cook all meats to safe temperatures. After cooking, thoroughly wash dishes that were in contact with the raw meat.
6. Air fresheners contain Phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), substances linked to various health problems. Replace commercial air fresheners with filter-based air purifiers.
7. Radon is a carcinogenic gas that seeps in through the soil and rocks under your house. Test your home for Radon with a specialized monitoring device. Hire a radon-abatement specialist, if the Radon level is above normal (2 to 4 picocuries per liter).
8. Aerosol sprays carry harmful gasses that trigger asthma and allergies. Protect your mouth and eyes when using sprays. Consider replacing hair sprays with pump products.
9. Plastics in toys or household products often contain BPA (Bisphenol A), Phthalates and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). When buying plastic products, choose the recycling symbols with the 1, 2, 4 and 5 numbers, whenever possible.
10. Tap water may contain contaminants such as radioactive substances and industrial waste. Use a water purifier to eliminate toxins from your tap water.
Awareness of these hidden dangers is only the first step. Protect yourself and your family by taking action today to reduce or eliminate these harmful substances from your home.
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