Hidden pollutants that lurk in your home

Hidden pollutants hide in your home

I’m sure we all think about the usual culprits like smoke, mold, dust … but have you thought about the things you don’t generally consider to be pollutants? These can actually be the most dangerous because, well – we just don’t think about them; and because we can’t see them, we don’t realize the damage they are actually doing.

Here are some of them:

Candles

I’ve never met a woman who didn’t love a candle, or a few, spread throughout her home, creating a little ambience, or a relaxing setting when the time comes for a moment to herself. But the scary thing is, those beautiful glows that we relish in so much – are actually full of harmful gases and sediments. And it doesn’t matter what the candles are made of, though paraffin candles are actually considered worse than the others; but every single candle that is burning in your home releases soot carbon particles that can cause problems with our breathing. Paraffin candles release acrolein, which is linked to lung cancer; carcinogens; and as paraffin is actually a byproduct of coal or petroleum – well, you get the picture. Change your mind about lighting a candle next time you want to relax? I don’t blame you.

Asbestos

It took many years, but the scary truth about asbestos has officially come to light now. It was once used to cover the pipes in our homes, then it was used in floors and ceiling tiles. Anyone who has a home older than 20 years, probably has asbestos somewhere in the structure. It depends on where you live and in some countries is isn’t considered a huge deal if you’re just living in the home, but it is dangerous and most first world countries now insist that if you have asbestos found in your home, you have to get it professionally removed. It is a lot more dangerous than you probably think as well – get a hole in the wall or floor; or have problems with your pipes; and you run the risk of breathing in asbestos particles which has been proven to lead to cancers and respiratory problems.

Household Cleaning Products

I’m sure when you’ve been cleaning and you’re using your spray bottle you’re not under the assumption that everything is okay with it; but just because you have finished the cleaning, doesn’t mean you’re safe. The particles from your household cleaning products may just stick around, and that includes things like benzene, chlorine, ammonia, methylene chloride and perchloroethylene, which can actually make you pretty sick. Some cleaning products even release dangerous compounds called Volatile Organic Compounds, and these have been linked to things like asthma, allergies and breathing problems. Aerosols, bleach and polish are also no-no’s if you want to live in a clean and healthy environment.

Lead

Do you wonder how you’d possibly have lead in your home in the 21st Century? You probably won’t if you live in a modern place, but if you are living in a home that was built before the 1980s there is a good chance you actually have lead in your paint. If you’re concerned, you need to call a professional to come and test the air because if lead is found in your home, it’s pretty dangerous – particularly if you have children who are at high risk of lead poisoning.

Kitchen Stove

If you don’t keep your windows open while cooking, the risk is pretty high that you’re going to end up with nitrogen dioxide in the air if you’re using a gas cooker. When it hits the air, nitrogen dioxide mixed with the air, creating nitric acid and toxic organic nitrates which can cause problems with the lung, and can even lead to you catching the flu.

Air Freshener

The stink from the toilet is too much, or your place is a bit musty after you’ve been away for a few days, so you get out the good old air freshener and give the place a spruce up. Smells nice and flowery. Breathe it in … and get a mouth and nose full of pollutants. Most air fresheners that you buy at the shop actually emit toxic pollutants that could lead to fatigue, nausea, anemia and neurological issues. Many of them also contain phthalates, which are particularly harmful to babies and children, and linked to low sperm count and abnormal developments of male genitalia.

Pesticides

It makes sense, but you probably haven’t really thought about. Sure you don’t want a home that is overrun with spiders and ants; but pesticides are designed to kill, so you can expect there are harmful effects on your own body and that of your children (along with your pets). Get a professional pest inspector in to do the work when you’re out of the home, allowing plenty of time before you return, and make sure you ask them if there are any potential health risks to the chemicals they use.

If you are concerned about the quality of air around you, you might also need to consider open fireplaces and heaters which leave behind soot and dust; radon which can be deadly; and dryer sheets which include a mixture of quaternary ammonium salt, silicon oil and or stearic acid – just to name a few. And of course if you have any major health concerns, call a professional.

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