Health Risks Associated with Home Renovations: How to Avoid Exposure
Renovating a home can be an exciting venture for any homeowner, but there may be hidden dangers lurking around the corner. Asbestos, lead, and mold are all serious issues that can pose health risks to an individual if exposed to these conditions, so it is important to heed certain precautions when remodeling and disturbing any hazardous materials.
One of the most serious health hazards to identify before renovating a home is the presence of asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can lead to a whole slew of health problems, most notably mesothelioma and other lung diseases. Asbestos may exist in any older home, as asbestos was used in home construction up until the late 1970’s. If the existence of asbestos is suspected, it is important to get the home inspected and have these hazardous materials removed before completing any renovation projects. Luckily, asbestos can be easily removed, though it is recommended to employ a professional to perform this work.
In addition to asbestos, the presence of lead-based paint in older homes is another dangerous concern to address when renovating. Lead-based paint was used in many homes up until it’s banning in 1978, so it is definitely a prevalent issue among homeowners. The most common way to become exposed to the lead in paint is through its existence in dust, so it is important to follow certain guidelines when remodeling or to hire a professional to remove the paint in order to avoid any health risks. If hiring a professional is not feasible, it is recommended to always dampen or mist the walls before attempting to remove any paint and to remove or cover all furniture with a thick plastic sheet before scraping or disturbing the paint in any way. In addition, turn off all heating and air conditioning to decrease the occurrence of air-borne particles and to always relocate any family members and pets to another location before performing any renovation work in these conditions.
Mold is another substance that can cause harm to an individual when renovating, so it is important to identify any mold growth and take the appropriate steps to remove the mold before performing any remodeling work. Mold may exist in any wet or damp conditions in buildings, especially basements and bathrooms. A bleach solution can kill mold, but the mold material must be removed completely as the dead spores can still pose harmful risks to inhabitants. If the mold contamination is large or spans more than 10 square feet, it is recommended to hire a professional to remove the material safely.
Though the health risks associated with home renovation are serious, there are ways to eliminate danger and take the necessary precautions to keep all family members safe when completing home DIY projects. If there is ever any question as to whether or not a health risk exists in a home, always contact an expert to assess the situation and recommend the proper procedures to follow.
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