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Why should someone that is remodeling their home be concerned with indoor pollution or environmental issues? What is the connection?

The fact is that home repair and remodeling projects – whether associated with the sale of a home, or just its improvement – can actually increase the risk of exposure to some significant environmental hazards. Why?

Consider: what usually happens during the remodeling or “fix-up” process? Old deteriorated components or perhaps walls are removed (demolition) or sanded and repainted. There is normally extensive sweeping, dusting, scraping, and hammering. Patterns of ventilation are often changed. All of these actions can introduce potentially dangerous quantities of lead or asbestos, for example. Changed ventilation patterns could result in a buildup of Radon or Carbon Monoxide.

So it’s a good idea to consider these issues before beginning a remodeling or renovation project. While some of the facts and statistics that you see here may be unsettling, the good news is that the health risks associated with adverse environmental conditions in the home can usually be detected and remedied quickly and relatively inexpensively. So for added safety and peace of mind, plan your project in advance with these issues in mind, and discuss them with the appropriate professionals.

Indoor household pollutants come from many sources, including any number of the following:

  • Carpeting
  • Furniture
  • Upholstery
  • Paint
  • Manufactured wood products
  • Copy machines
  • Pesticides
  • Cleaning products
  • Tobacco
  • Asbestos-containing products
  • Combustion sources (fireplaces, stoves, gas water heaters and appliances)

Other contributors to indoor air pollution are biological in nature. Bacteria, molds, pollen and viruses are all biological contaminants. These biological contaminants may breed in water that can collect in ducts, humidifiers, drain pans or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, carpeting or insulation. These organisms can become airborne and inhaled. Detecting indoor pollutants can be difficult since you can’t usually see or smell them. Even though there are some physical symptoms that can hint towards possible hazardous levels of pollution, they are very similar to common illnesses such as a cold or the flu and therefore can be difficult to recognize. Some of the typical symptoms include; headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, itchy nose, scratchy throat, confusion, shortness of breath or faintness. These symptoms should become more suspicious if they decrease or go away completely when the individual leaves the home. If pollution is suspected precautions such as getting a professional to test the home for contaminates and perhaps leaving the home until it is safe to return.



What can I do to better the quality of air in my home? >>
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