Residential Health Standards: Is Your Home Safe for You to Live In?


Your home should be a safe haven where your family can be healthy and protected from harm. Young children can spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors so you want your home to be the healthiest that it can possibly be. This checklist can help you determine if your home is safe and provide you with tips on what to do to make it healthier.

Dangers of Lead Paint

If your home was built before 1978, it is possible there is lead paint under layers of fresh paint on your walls or windows. During renovations, lead dust can be stirred up or lead paint could be exposed if something chips a wall. Lead paint can cause learning disabilities and developmental delays in children. Always use a contractor who is certified to remove lead materials. You can also contact the National Lead Information Center to get information on inspectors who can check for lead in your home. Although there are home tests available, the Environmental Protection Agency says that those are not reliable.

Asbestos in Your Home

Although its use inside the home has diminished significantly, asbestos may still be found in homes built prior to 1975. Blown-in attic insulation, vinyl floor tiles, plaster and other common household materials at one time contained asbestos. In most cases, items that contain asbestos inside your home will not present a problem as long as they are in good condition. However, if something that contains asbestos is damaged or if a home renovation leads to sawing or sanding of a product that contains asbestos, the fibers released cause a significant health hazard. The biggest concern with asbestos is that it can cause cancer, but it can also cause laryngitis, asthma, and damage to a person’s immune system. If your home was built prior to 1975, always use a contractor, like Mendelssohn Construction, who is licensed for asbestos removal to be sure that any materials that could contain asbestos are handled properly.

Harsh Cleaning Products

We want our home to be as clean as possible and this means using scents, soaps, detergents and polishes manufactured to keep our home sparkling. However, some of these chemicals can be very harmful to your family. We all know to keep harsh chemicals in a safe place so children cannot ingest them or spill them where they can cause burns and other injuries, but the fact is that some chemicals may actually be harmful when you use them properly. Fragrances added to some commercial products can lead to respiratory irritation, headache or asthma attacks in those who are sensitive. Some cleaners contain sudsing agents like diethanolamine and triethanolamine. When these substances come in contact with nitrates that are sometimes included in other commercial products, they can produce carcinogenic nitrosamines which can penetrate the skin. Whenever possible, use natural cleaners like bleach, ammonia or white vinegar or choose organic commercial products, making sure to read the label carefully to be sure there are no hidden chemicals.

Don’t Hesitate to Act

You may think that it’s a waste of time to try and find out whether or not there is any lead paint or asbestos in your home or to check to see if you’re using the right cleaning products or not. However, doing so can prevent possible health issues and, even, save lives. After all, cancer has been known to be caused by lead paint and asbestos. If you could prevent that, why wouldn’t you? To help you act on this fast, schedule a day within the next month where you can have professionals come and check your place out and then make the necessary appointments to get that done. By scheduling such a day ahead of time, it’ll help you to not put it off for too long and to ensure that nothing else can cloud up your calendar either. If the rest of your household doesn’t understand the importance of doing this, research some facts about how their health can be impacted and show them. Hopefully, they’ll understand the seriousness of the issue and be on board with getting the inspections done as well as any necessary changes that may need to happen if you do end up finding out that your home has such harmful things in it.

Keeping your home healthy is an important step to keeping you, your family and whoever else may live with you safe. After all, these simple steps can help prevent illness from happening and, therefore, save lives.

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