Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we spend most of our time in one place – our homes. The researches conducted in 2020 showed that most people tend to spend up to 90% of their time inside.
And with how the things currently are, we could see that figure climb up even higher. And that got us thinking. Are our houses as safe as we believe they are, and what are the common health hazards lurking in your home?
As it turns out, there are plenty of activities and substances that can cause indoor air pollution. Smoking is an obvious example. However, even if you’re already familiar with the health benefits of eating whole foods and you care about your health, you may be creating problems as cooking and using electronic machines still can be the cause of air pollution.
On the other hand, there are also breathing emissions given off by different building materials. So, if you’re moving to a new home, you should definitely have a few inspections done. But, more on that later on.
Now, let’s focus on things you don’t want in your living space
Radon is an odorless, radioactive gas. It’s created through the natural decay of radium and uranium, which can be found in many kinds of rocks and soils. As you can expect, it’s most often found in rooms that are in direct contact with the ground. So, basements. There are known cases of radon accumulating in groundwater, which is a primary source of drinking water for many people.
Professionals from the EPA state that roughly one in fifteen homes in the US have radon above dangerous levels. Prolonged exposure to this gas is known to cause lung cancer and causes approximately 21,000 deaths per year. So, it’s not something to underestimate.
Therefore, if you’re moving to a new home, especially if it’s to another state, inform yourself about radon presence and recorded levels in the area. Even better, make a home inspection a financial aspect of your upcoming relocation. This is the best way to keep yourself and your family safe.
- Airborne particles
These are better known as PM particles, and they are a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets from the air. All kinds of sulfates, nitrates, and even heavy metals like iron, zinc, and copper compose PM particles. So, you could imagine why they aren’t too good of a thing for our health.
We understand that it’s not easy to believe that we have copper floating around our apartments. However, there are quite a few indoor sources of PM. And these include:
- Fossil fuel combustion (fireplaces, stoves, candles)
- Machine operation
- Residential hobbies
When you line up all the sources like that, it becomes clear why PM indoor levels often exceed outdoor levels. And these are on the list of common health hazards lurking in your home because they’re small enough to be inhaled.
So, if you want to save your heart and lungs and stay away from searching for natural remedies for asthma, you should stay clear of these.
Luckily, battling PM isn’t too tricky. The right first step is ensuring that your home has a sound ventilation system. And if you have a wood stove in your home, make sure it’s certified to meet EPA emission standards.
- Carbon monoxide
This again is a problem created by activities that involve combustion. So, generally, we’re talking about cooking or heating. From the information we were able to find, the most common sources of CO indoors include unvented kerosene or gas space heaters and leaking chimneys, wood stoves, and fireplaces.
Like radon, the biggest problem with this gas is that it’s colorless and odorless. So, you can be exposed to it without even realizing it. Although the impacts of exposure depend on age and overall health, it’s not something you want to take lightly.
Even if you’re in the best possible shape, feeling constant fatigue isn’t fun for anyone. Additionally, moderate exposure to CO is known to cause angina (ischemic chest pain) and reduced brain function.
Even more, it can result in flu-like symptoms. And in 2021, dizziness, headache, and loss of sense of smell aren’t the things anyone wants to experience.
We don’t even have to mention that exposure to this gas in very high concentrations can cause fatalities. Therefore, it’s essential to use all the proper vented heaters and wood stoves. And, of course, don’t ever leave your vehicle idling in the garage.
Although it’s possibly the least deleterious on this list, mold still has a great potential of causing health problems. As you may already know, molds grow by breaking down dead organic matter, and they reproduce by emitting spores.
You can expect to find it wherever there’s ample moisture in homes. These are problematic for humans because they produce allergens, irritants, and sometimes mycotoxins.
So, for some people inhaling or even touching spores causes reactions similar to hay fever. Even if you’re not allergic, you can expect to feel irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.
Since it’s a relatively new thing, research on the health effects of mold is still ongoing. However, we already know that a causal relationship between exposure to indoor molds and developing asthma in children exists. Therefore, if you want to keep your kids healthy, follow EPA advice and remove it from your home.
As you can see, there are a whole plethora of common health hazards lurking in your home. Luckily, most of them aren’t present in every home and don’t have astronomical effects on your health.
With that said, they can be the cause for other illnesses that may lead to more significant problems. So, it’s the best idea to keep exposure to a minimum and tackle the problem as soon as you detect it.
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