Is your house making you sick…nauseous? Many people have no idea that their home is actually laden with a number of different toxins. Some of these toxins work a little slower than others, but the symptoms are mainly the same: headaches, lightheadedness, lethargy, vomiting nausea and more. Some toxins, however, can be even more nefarious – causing stokes, paralysis and even death. Every year, household toxins affect millions of people and the solution can oftentimes be illusive – mainly because it can be hard to know what the toxins are in the first place. Here are some of the most common toxins you’re exposed to in your home.
One of the biggest household toxins is lead. Before the 1970s, lead was used in a number of applications, like house paint and drywall. Environmental specialists and doctors say that lead paint can be one of the biggest threats to human health, especially children. Lead paint targets the central nervous system, brain cells and other vital organs. Lead can also affect pregnant women and can lead to prenatal developmental disorders in unborn children. Today, lead isn’t used anymore, but it is often found in older homes and it can be released into the air via peeling paint.
Another big indoor air pollutant that can be toxic and harmful to human health are chemicals released by air fresheners and deodorizers. Many of the most commonly used air fresheners release a chemical that when combined with the atmosphere can become extremely toxic, especially if released in an unventilated room. While one or two uses most likely won’t be harmful, extended use can cause minor symptoms, like stomachaches and headaches. Moreover, these chemicals can also pose long term risks for cancer and other debilitating diseases.
Next, one of the most common household toxins is mold. Mold, while it is an organic compound, can proliferate in moist environments. Mold poisoning can have disastrous consequences and can usually be found in areas of the home that have higher levels of moisture, like bathrooms and basements, but mold can also be found in the ductwork of your HVAC system. If you want to avoid mold poisoning, you want to be sure to thoroughly ventilate your bathrooms and perhaps even hire an HVAC team to have your ductwork professionally cleaned. Duct cleaning is important because when you go to turn on your HVAC system in the winter, you don’t want to spread the mold throughout your entire home.
Lastly, if you have new carpets, or you are thinking of having new carpets installed in your home, it is important to know about the toxic chemicals that can be found in carpets. New carpets have something called VOCs, which is short for volatile organic compounds, which can be harmful to your health if there is limited ventilation. These compounds are mainly found in the glue and dye that is used in the making and installation of the carpet. If you have just had new carpets installed, it is recommended to spend a few days outside of the home, or in another room – at least until the smell subsides; and always make sure to keep plenty of windows open.