By Emily Walsh, Community Outreach Director, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance During a natural disaster, immediate safety is the greatest concern: evacuation,
If your property suffers damage, the first thought that may cross your mind is how you are going to fix the problem. While physical damage can be fixed with some hard work and elbow grease, homeowners commonly forget about the dangers they can’t see. There are hidden hazards lurking within property damage that pose serious health risks to both you and your family.
With October being Healthy Lung Month, it is important to understand the risks we face when our property becomes damaged and why we should not attempt to fix these problems ourselves.
If your home is flooded, the first concern is removing any excess water from inside the home. However, there are residual effects that occur due to flood damage. For example, if your basement flooded and the water ended up soaking the carpet, this could lead to poor air quality and toxic mold growth.
Mold is a type of fungus that has the ability to grow both indoors and outdoors. It can trigger a variety of different symptoms within the body, often mimicking common symptoms of the flu, such as fever, chills, and throat irritation. Lung infections may occur if the amount of mold is abundant and has existed for a prolonged period of time. It is especially important to stay away from spaces containing mold if you have asthma as this can cause difficulty breathing.
Following a flood, carpets and anything else compromised should be professionally removed within 48 hours. Hiring a professional will make sure that the job gets done correctly and helps ensure your family’s safety.
No matter how small a fire that occurs in your home, the toxins that will exist once the fire is extinguished can impact your health. Depending on the structure and contents that burned in your home, the possibility of the presence of dioxins is high. Dioxins are a group of chemically related compounds that are linked to causing cancer and developmental issues. When melted, PVC piping, which was commonly used in older homes, releases dioxins into the air which can be detrimental to one’s health.
Tests can be done after a fire occurs to make sure the air quality is safe and you should plan on staying elsewhere until the air in your home is deemed breathable.
Natural Wear and Tear
There is a possibility that your home is going to have some type of damage occur over its lifespan. However, structural damage can raise red flags, especially if you live in an older home. Homes built prior to 1980 have a high likelihood of containing asbestos, a deadly carcinogenic mineral used primarily in insulation. Friable asbestos is the most common form used in insulation and is known for its ability to reduce to a powder. If your home contains this insulation and it becomes disturbed, asbestos fibers can be released into the air and could enter your body. These fibers lodge in the lining of the internal organs and may cause cancer, such as pleural mesothelioma to develop. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer, taking nearly 3,000 lives per year in the United States.
What You Should Do
If your home experiences property damage, call PuroClean immediately to assess the damage and provide the best solution possible. This October, use Healthy Lung Month as a way to inform others about the dangers of property damage, and if your home faces one of these problems, be proactive and seek help.
Written by: Emily Walsh, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance