Your home is supposed to be a safe haven for you and your family. Whether you have infants or toddlers or teenagers or older people living in your house, it’s only logical to make sure that your domain is free from any toxins that may pose risks to you and your family’s health. Unfortunately, many household toxins are being linked to mental and physical development in children, as well as causing health hazards among adults. If you’re wondering what could be making you sick within the confines of your home, we have listed below some of the most potent chemicals and toxins that can be found in your household:
- Cigarette smoke – this is a known toxic pollutant that causes some of the most devastating illnesses in humans. Cigarette smoke has been linked to throat and lung cancer, as well as causes and aggravates asthma, emphysema, heart disease, hypertension, pregnancy complications and other respiratory diseases. Aside from the principal smokers, cigarette smoke is deemed even harmful to second-hand smokers – particularly among pregnant women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks cigarette smoke as the leading cause of disease and deaths in the United States. Existing reports revealed that 46.2 million adults (22.8 percent of the population) in the United States smoke cigarettes. And more than 440,000 deaths in the United States each year are attributable to tobacco use, resulting in more than 6 million years of potential life lost each year.
- Radon – This odorless and colorless gas could find its way into homes through basements with poor ventilations, cracks in the walls and in the floors. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The only way to determine if your home has elevated radon levels is to run a test using instant home test kits or by hiring someone to perform the radon test on your behalf.
- Lead – Despite the total ban of lead on household paints in 1978, more than half a million American kids have shown elevated levels of lead in the blood. The main culprit is the presence of old lead-based paints in old houses, schools and other buildings. Lead has the uncanny ability of interlacing itself with dust that when inhaled, will find its way to the bloodstream. Another known source is corroded, old lead pipes. Some of the health problems associated with lead toxicity and elevated levels in the blood include learning anomalies, behavioral problems, anemia and in the most adverse cases, serious brain damage. Hence, if you live in a house or apartment building which has been constructed for more than 25 years, you should be concerned with lead toxicity and perform a lead test to assure protection.
- Pesticides – Aside from farms and fruit orchards, pesticides are also applied inside homes and buildings. These chemicals could cause minor skin reactions to serious nervous system disorders and cancer. Children in particularly are more susceptible to the effects of pesticides because their internal organs are still developing and maturing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is enforcing tougher standards with the use of pesticides to protect infants and children from pesticide risks.
- Formaldehyde – This chemical is normally found in fertilizers, glues, plywood, some insulators, disinfectants and antibacterial soaps, and even certain beauty products. The EPA has categorized Formaldehyde as a carcinogen which may irritate respiratory tracts, nose, eyes, throat and skin. Because Formaldehyde appears to quite unavoidable, homeowners are encouraged to take the needed precautions to avoid toxicity. For houses undergoing remodeling, use only exterior grade pressed wood. Buy only laminated furniture and maintain good ventilation at home.