Home renovations come with their own health risks. We know the usual suspects. Falling debris, dust, and other possible injuries caused by manual labor. That’s why we wear helmets, masks, and goggles when we’re on construction sites. But home renovation could also expose us to a different kind of health risk: toxic chemicals.
These are the three most common toxic chemicals that you may be exposed to when you renovate your home.
Asbestos is the thin and white fivers that you see on cement, pipes, and even floor tiles. These fibers are exposed when materials made from asbestos are destroyed. The fibers could dissolve into the air and become toxic dust. They could become dangerous to people who inhale them because asbestos could lead to mesothelioma. It’s a type of cancer that forms tumors in the lungs, abdomen, or heart.
When you tear down ceilings and walls, remove floor tiles, and destroy pies, you might be releasing asbestos into the air. When you see it on surfaces, stay away from it and make sure other people in your home don’t make any contact with it as well. Then it’s always better to hire a professional to remove the asbestos.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are chemical compounds that come from solid or liquid materials and dissolve into the air. It’s similar to asbestos in that sense. VOCs can be found in the most common items we use for construction. Some paint and varnishes have it. It can also be found in carpet flooring or vinyl tiles.
Because VOCs are so popular in common household items, it’s possible that we’re exposed to them everyday. They can cause irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat. They can also cause headaches, dizziness, and vomiting. But long term exposure to VOCs can lead to cancer, and damage to the liver and kidney.
The best way to reduce exposure to VOC is by avoiding products that have high levels of them. When you renovate your home, make sure to research first if the materials you want to use have VOCs in them.
Seventy-five percent of homes that were built before 1978 were covered with lead-based paint. This is a cause for concern because most people renovate their homes because of their outdatedness. So when you decide to renovate your home, you must be aware first of the risks.
Lead poisoning is dangerous for children. It can affect negatively their learning and behavior. As for adults, lead poisoning can cause high blood pressure and damage to the kidney and fertility. Lead is found almost anywhere inside and outside of the home. Some ceramics and pipes also have lead in them.
When you start renovating your home, be sure to properly protect yourself with gloves, masks, and goggles. These lower your chances of inhaling lead. Keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to simply paint over lead-infused paint on the wall. The new coat of paint could chip off over time and expose your family to lead. So it’s better to chip all of the lead-infused paint off first before applying a new coat.
Over the last few years, we’re becoming more fascinated with the TV shows on HGTV. We find inspiration in how some of the most atrocious houses we’ve ever seen could be renovated into something so beautiful. So we long to renovate our own houses as well. And what’s even more fascinating about HGTV shows is that they make renovating seem so doable. If you just have the right materials, basic knowledge, and guidance, you, too, could renovate your own home.
We just need to be aware of the risks and take the proper precautions to avoid any damage to our health.