Home is where you’re supposed to feel comfortable, safe and at ease. Right?
Well, what if I told you that there could be things hidden in your home that could actually kill you?
Whether your home is brand new or was built a hundred years ago, dangers may lurk in every corner. But never fear! I’ve done the research for you, to uncover some of the most common hazards and what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe.
Hidden home hazard #1: Mold
Every house has a bit of the ugly green stuff on the bottom of the shower curtain. And although it’s pretty icky, it’s no cause for alarm.
However, there IS mold that you need to worry about. The stuff that gets black and dusty when dry. That’s called Stachybotrys chartarum, and it can release spores as it feeds on materials in drywall, carpet, insulation or subflooring. Those spores can cause asthma attacks, chronic sinusitis and other respiratory problems.
Stay safe inside: If you’ve ever had a flood, or if you notice a musty odor or discolored or blackened areas, especially in the basement, bathroom or attic, take action immediately. Remove any small, contained areas, such as a basement floor tile, then scrub the area thoroughly with an antimicrobial spray. For larger areas, call a professional.
To foil mold problems before they happen:
- Keep the humidity in the house low. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier, particularly during humid weather.
- Make sure your house is ventilated properly. For example, do your bathrooms have exhaust fans?
- Always fix leaks immediately and wipe down any areas that have gotten wet with a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 10 parts water.
Hidden home hazard #2: Asbestos
Was your home built before 1960? If so, you probably do have some of this cancer-causing killer in your house. That being said, don’t call a moving company just yet.
Although asbestos used to be used in a wide variety of materials, such as vinyl floor tiles, wall and ceiling insulation and roofing materials, it’s only dangerous if it’s airborne, when it can be inhaled and cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen.
Stay safe inside: To find the asbestos, check out the insulation in the basement first — white or grayish white paper-like material around the furnace or duct openings usually means you’ve got the stuff. If it’s in good shape, back away from the asbestos and leave it alone.
However, if it’s crumbly or dusty, or if you’re doing any type of renovations, do NOT attempt to deal with this yourself. Dangerous fibers are released into the air when the material is banged, rubbed, handled or taken apart.
Instead, call your state health department for a list of trained asbestos contractors.
Hidden home hazard #3: Radon
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in this country has unsafe levels of this gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It gets into your house through cracks in the foundation, then moves up through the ground to the air above.
Radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, second only to smoking, resulting in between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
Stay safe inside: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. That’s starting with the ground level. In other words, if you have a basement, put the test there.
Testing is easy, and you can do it yourself. Google your state’s department of health, which usually sells home tests at the cheapest rates. (Some even give them away for free.) Or call the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS-RADON (1-800-767-7236).
If the test reveals levels higher than 2 pCi/L, test again to confirm. If it’s still high, consult a radon service professional. Find one through the EPA’s website at epa.gov.
You’ll need a process called soil decompression, which will rid your house of the radon.
Speak to a qualified radon professional about sealing your home properly to keep radon from getting in.
Only the paranoid survive
I know it might seem paranoid to check to see whether these 3 home wreckers are affecting you and your family. However, I believe it’s worth it.
With just a bit of detection, along with a little prevention, your home can be the safe haven you’ve always dreamed it should be.
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.
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