Because of the poor economy, many Americans are taking up home renovation projects themselves. This is part of a trend that has been growing for several years now. However, many homeowners are ignorant of the risks involved with these types of projects. They lack information on hazards lurking in household chemicals, industrial chemicals, and other materials.
While focused on getting that new kitchen counter exactly right, home renovators may not be considering what is behind those walls, such as insufficient wiring, mold, or asbestos. Outdated wiring can pose a significant fire risk, while hazardous materials like asbestos can even lead to life-threatening illnesses like mesothelioma.
One such health risk is lead. Although lead is not usually present in modern household chemicals and paint, in previous times it saw widespread usage. Lead was once used in typical household items like gasoline, furniture, and pipes. It was particularly dangerous to children because it was easily absorbed by the skin, leading to the possibility of extreme mental and psychological problems.
Asbestos is another threat that is sometimes lurking around homes. Asbestos is a type of mineral that once was used widely in construction materials because of its low cost, and ability to effectively insulate and promote fire resistance. Later, it was found to be a toxic agent that causes mesothelioma — a fatal lung disease.
By the time asbestos was identified as toxic, the material had already found its way into literally millions of homes, businesses, and naval vessels. The material is composed of fibrous strands that, when airborne, lodge themselves inside the lungs, making people sick.
Asbestos was used in many ships, where it was especially dangerous since those confined spaces helped concentrate the asbestos fibers. Many shipbuilders and Navy personnel developed asbestos as a result of working in these types of areas.
Although the use of asbestos has been phased out, the material is sometimes still encountered in older buildings. It was sometimes mixed in with building materials to lend a fire resistance ability to walls, floors, and ceilings. It is also sometimes found as insulation in older buildings.
If you are remodeling your home, particularly if your home is older, you should be aware of areas where asbestos may be hiding. If you are concerned that a particular material may be asbestos, it is recommended that you contact a professional who can procure a sample of the suspected material, and have it tested.
Today’s author, Brian Turner, has been working with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance as an environmental health and toxic substance safety advocate since June of 2007. Brian brings a tremendous amount of research and awareness experience in environmental health risks, environmental carcinogens, and green building expertise. Brian is very interested in all types of cars; his favorites are classic, muscle, and imports. Brian is commonly found playing and watching various sports with his friends.
Editor’s Note: The site Mesothelioma.com, in addition to having a wealth of information on its titular disease and the causal substances, also has very useful pages such as Top Mesothelioma Doctors sorted by state and Cancer Centers, also by state. If you have concerns or are starting to have to deal with this issue, you really should go to their site. Even if you just poke around, you’ll learn quite a bit. Thanks for reading today – David.
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