Respiratory Hazards: What You Need To Know To Stay Safe

Many people are likely engaging in household activities or have household items that put them at risk for exposure to respiratory hazards and aren’t aware of it. Even minimal exposure can adversely affect your health. As it may take months or years to develop physical symptoms related to an exposure, many people continue to put themselves at risk unknowingly because at the current moment they feel perfectly healthy. Continued reading will explore how you can keep yourself and your family safe in your home.

Paints and Finishes
Many paints and finishes emit volatile organic compounds (VOC) which are a major contributor to indoor pollution. Toxic gases from these products can be emitted for months to years and are associated with irritations and health problems. To avoid this, many paint stores now offer low and zero VOC paints. You should also avoid spray painting, but if you must do it make sure you use the right protective gear.

Home Furnishings
Many home furnishings are made of pressed wood, plywood, and particle board that is treated with formaldehyde. This includes furniture, shelving, counter tops, cabinets etc. Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen and these products can emit toxic fumes for as long as five years. Options for your family to consider to prevent exposure include purchasing furnishings that are made of formaldehyde-free fiberboard, have cabinets made out of solid wood by a carpenter with non-toxic finishes, and consider using stainless steel cabinets that don’t contain particleboard or toxic foams. Other safe materials to have furniture made from include glass, metal, and chrome.

It has been found that the cause of many indoor air problems is toxic gases that are emitted from synthetic carpeting. Synthetic carpets are made from plastic fibers that are petroleum-derived and are typically installed with adhesives that are solvent-based. These emit toxic gases into our healthy air and can lead to the development of asthma, allergic reactions, dizziness, and headaches.

Home Flooring
If your flooring has been in place for over five years, chances are toxic fumes are no longer being emitted. However, if you have an older synthetic floor with deep scratches it may still be releasing harmful toxins. If you are looking to replace your flooring, consider the following to keep your family healthy: void finishing your floor with polyurethane as it is a respiratory toxin, don’t use particle board for flooring, pressure-treated wood is healthier than wood that has been treated with preservatives, pre-treated wood is healthier than wood that requires treatment after installation, and natural linoleum is a healthy option for flooring as it is made from linseed oil.

Home Repairs & Remodeling
Unfortunately, due to its strength and heat resistance, asbestos is used in a majority of older building materials. It can also be found in textured paint, patching compounds, vinyl floor tiles, heat-resistant fabrics and many more products. Exposure to asbestos occurs when fibers are released into the air by disturbing the product related to improper use of product or home repair, remodeling, and maintenance. Materials that contain asbestos but are undamaged are not typically a health concern. If you have any of these materials in your home, the best thing you can do is leave them alone. They should be monitored for signs of wear or damage. However, for more its damaged material or if you plan to make repairs or remodel an area containing this material, then it’s important to remove it safely. Getting certified from the National Environmental Trainers can help you be prepared to tackle the issue safely.

The risk for exposure to respiratory hazards reaches beyond occupational and agricultural sources. In fact, the air we breathe indoors can have higher concentrations of toxins than the air we breathe outdoors. What is unfortunate is that these respiratory hazards are being emitted from the products that we use to make our lives better. These examples can help you understand the hazards you need to be aware of in your own home.


*Our content is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis of individual problems or circumstances, nor should it be implied that we are a substitute for professional medical advice. Users / readers are always advised to consult their Healthcare Professional prior to starting any new remedy, therapy or treatment. Your Wellness Group accepts no liability in the event you, a user of n-gage and a reader of this article, suffers a loss as a result of reliance upon or inappropriate application of the information.

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