A home is a place of comfort and happiness. On average, at least 90 percent of the American population spends their time indoors. A home is often filled with dust, and other pollutants shed from household items like electronic devices, furniture, and cleaning products.
Toxins in the home can lead to health conditions, some of which can even be fatal. You may notice that a house makes you sick if you start experiencing symptoms like a sore throat or allergic reactions an hour or two after entering the home. Your symptoms should alleviate after you leave home.
Here are some ways you may be breathing toxins in your home.
Volatile Organic Compounds
VOCs are items you bring into the home that can carry toxic chemicals. These include new carpets and home furnishings, interior paints, new plastics and electronics, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, shampoos and cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellents, air fresheners, and during the burning of wood stoves and tobacco products.
They are commonly released as gasses into the air we breathe and are usually higher indoors than outdoors. They are primarily odorless, and you might not even realize that you are breathing VOCs.
While not all VOCs have adverse health effects, many tend to cause breathing problems and even nausea.
But the good news is that there are alternatives to VOC products. You have to search for them, like a talalay latex mattress, which is made of water-based materials with little to no traces of VOCs.
If your house was built before 1978, you might have lead paint on the walls. The lead paint residue may be present even if you have repainted the walls since then.
However, it usually isn’t a significant health hazard if it’s untouched and in good condition. It only becomes a problem when it deteriorates and forms minor particle suspensions that can be inhaled. This can be especially harmful if you have pets or small children. Otherwise, lead is well-known for its numerous health effects depending on how much you have in your body.
Asbestos was commonly used between 1920 and 1978 to build homes to insulate. You should check for asbestos if your home was built throughout these years. But remember that only licensed contractors should handle this, so do not try to fix it yourself because inhalable asbestos fibers usually have profound health implications.
Like lead, asbestos doesn’t usually pose any health risks when left undisturbed. Asbestos-containing materials commonly remain in roofs, attics, side shingles, and basements of such old homes. These are known to cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Commonly famous for causing tuberculosis, tobacco smoking is another prominent but unexpected contributor to indoor air pollution. It essentially releases toxic pollutants into the air and is one of the most silent and invisible ways that one’s health can be compromised in their own home.
If you or a previous owner or resident of the home-smoked, the tobacco toxins might be lingering. This long-term exposure to smoke can increase your risk for lung cancer.
If the smell of smoke still lingers, consider replacing the carpet or other materials in the home that could be holding the smell of smoke. This will generally help minimize your exposure to tobacco toxins and improve overall indoor air quality.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 30 percent of insecticides, 60 percent of herbicides, and 90 percent of fungicides are known to be carcinogenic. Alarmingly, pesticide residues have been detected in 50 percent to 95 percent of U.S. foods.
Pesticides are common in foods, and they essentially emit hazardous air pollutants and other volatile organic compounds, which are known to cause various health complications.
So, be sure to wash your food right after purchasing to minimize exposure to such toxic materials. You can also opt for organic foods that use fewer pesticides or buy from local farmers. Strive to lead a pesticide-free lifestyle and remember to take caution when using indoor foggers.
Playing It Safe
A home is a vital space that provides security and solitude, especially now that more and more people are increasingly spending more time indoors. It’s a place for escaping life’s daily hustle, an environment you want to be healthy for you and your loved ones.
Unfortunately, imminent dangers lurking between your walls could cause significant harm. Since these often go undetected, you must find out why your house could be making you sick. Numerous household toxins exist that could lead to various health complications. Some even proved to be fatal. To help you make your home healthier and safer, consider some of these unexpected reasons you might be breathing toxins in your home.