You do your best to keep your family safe from all the dangers they run into outside of your home, but how often do you consider the toxic dangers that they run into inside your own doors? Every day, we live around numerous toxins, and whether they’re airborne or ingested, they can cause great harm if we’re not careful about them.
If you do a gradual sweep of your home, you’ll probably find one or two things from the list of common household toxins below. Take a moment today and consider what you can do to keep your family safe from these potential toxic dangers in your home:
Mold is actually a non-scientific term for unwanted fungal growth. Fungi comprise around 300,000 different species (that we know of!) and most of these are harmless to human health. However, many people have allergies and sensitivity to molds, and as this article details, constant exposure can easily lead to respiratory problems, including the development of asthma and even pneumonia.
It’s difficult to determine the exact cause-and-effect of mold on human health, since the presence of mold usually also means that there are also various bacteria, dust mites, and chemical byproducts of these organisms present as well. However, it’s clear that damp spaces in the home can easily become a problem. The solution is to carefully monitor certain spaces in the house.
Make sure that you’re free of leaks and cracks in your plumbing, and in the appliances and tools you utilize in your kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms. Check under the sinks regularly for leaks and signs of mold. If there are areas where moisture builds up, install a fan or a dehumidifier to alleviate the problem. And if there’s an indication of mold in your house, call someone for mold remediation right away.
Ever found a mouse in the house? Field mice are common enough pests that few of us consider the dangers that they can bring. Outside of making a mess of our food and marking the house with their scent, mice are the biggest carriers for hantavirus infection, a severe disease that has caused death in over ⅓ of reported cases, within just days of infection. Hantavirus is airborne. Exposure through inhalation of infected droppings, urine, or even saliva can abruptly bring on symptoms of nausea, trouble breathing, stomach pain, chills, and fever.
In order to prevent hantavirus infection, you should take measures to keep rodent infestations out of your home. This link has some great tips for keeping mice out. If you do find a mouse in the house, immediately take action to get rid of the problem, and deep-clean the house with a mask over your face, treating any droppings that you find with the utmost care.
If a doctor prescribed it, it’s safe; right? Wrong. Even in “child-proof” bottles, old medications can be a danger in your house. Depending on the medication, it could carry a high risk of abuse and overdose. If you’ve heard anything about the opioid epidemic, you know that it’s taking multiple lives every day, and 80% of people addicted to opioids started with exposure to prescription painkillers.
So, don’t be blind to the dangers of all the things crammed into your medicine cabinet. Even inadvertently, curious children and careless adults can have dangerous encounters with medication, especially when mixing different substances.
So, in order to keep your family safe, (1) dispose properly of medication once it’s expired, or you no longer need to use it; (2) keep all medication in a safe place out of the reach of children; (3) keep information about the medicine organized so that you know about the side effect dangers and contraindications.
Household cleaners affect your home in a couple of different ways. First of all, any ingestion (whether that’s a child getting into the bottle, or a dog licking a newly-polished table) can be very harmful and will warrant a call to poison control. However, the more common danger of household cleaners is in the toxins that we inhale. The EPA have identified phosphorus, ammonia, nitrogen, and VOC’s as the most common toxins found in household cleaners. All of these things can cause irritation to your lungs and eyes. Consistent exposure can cause other health problems, especially for children and smaller animals.
A safer way to clean is to purchase or make your own natural cleaning products from common household ingredients including vinegar, baking soda, lemon, castile soap, coconut oil and essential oils.
In order to keep the air in your home clean, consider getting indoor plants that purify the air as they respirate, and remember to clean out the filters on your HVAC system regularly.
How do you prevent harmful toxic dangers in your home?
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