Whether your home is new or old, it may contain hidden toxins. Here are four common toxins and how to make your home healthier:
1. Mold, a musty-smelling, black or greenish fungus that thrives on moisture, and irritates your eyes and skin plus makes you cough.
What To Do: Keep your house clean, dry, and well ventilated especially in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. Remove minor mold with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. If you find a large amount, it may be inside a wall, so talk to a professional mold removal service about cleaning it up.
2. Chemical compounds, including formaldehyde (in carpets,
upholstery, glues) can make your eyes and throat burn; benzene (in plastics, synthetic fibers, pesticides) can cause dizziness; and trichloroethylene (in paint removers, adhesives) can cause fatigue.
What To Do: Read labels and buy household products wisely. Store hazardous products on corrosion-resistant shelves and learn how to safely recycle them at: www.earth911.com.
3. Lead paint, especially in homes built before 1978, can cause brain damage in young children.
What To Do: Check the paint in homes, particularly if you’re planning to renovate. For details, go to: www.epa.gov/lead.
4. Radon, an odorless gas that comes from the breakdown of soil and rock under your home is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
What To Do: You can buy a radon test kit at a hardware store or contact the state radon office for a list of qualified testers. To find a certified radon contractor to fix a problem, go to this directory: www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html