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6 Ways You Can Avoid Potential Health Risks When Remodeling An Older Home
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Planning to remodel your home? Why not build a better place while protecting your family’s health by choosing harmless building materials and taking additional care during the construction? Health risks such as respiratory problems (or worse) can become a serious matter when you don’t manage these pollutants properly. If you start learning to be aware of the risks, then you may take safety measures to reduce the effects of these hazards might have both during and after your home remodel.
Be Wary and Avoid Lead Paint
Higher are the chances that your home contains lead paint if it was built pre-1978. Lead paint has been recognized as one of the two most well-known hazards. A ban for lead paint happened in 1978 but before that, lead was utilized as a pigment and drying component for painting homes.
In 1960, in fact, lead paint was actually banned in Staten Island and throughout New York City. NY authorities have warned homeowners not to get rid of paint by dry scraping or sanding in homes older than 1960 since dust from lead-based paint is the most common cause of lead poisoning in children.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires a certification from any firm performing a home remodel where lead-based paint will be disrupted. Every renovator must be licensed and taught by EPA-approved trainers. There are certain rules for properly disposing of lead-based paint debris and is varied by municipalities. So it’s advised to contact local authorities before interrupting old paint.
Inspect Your Home for Asbestos
Before remodeling your home, you may want to check your home for asbestos. You can find it in old insulation such as pipes, adhesives, ceiling tiles, roofing, cement siding, floor coverings, spackling compound, and the like. Asbestos is also one of the most well-known hazards and another common problem in older homes. Like what we mentioned above, contractors and renovators must have EPA accreditation and must be fully knowledgeable and trained in the safe removal of asbestos.
The greatest peril from this pollutant is when it becomes airborne, which can occur if you disturb it throughout a home remodel. When these particles are inhaled or ingested it can possibly cause lung disease and various cancers, and what’s worse is that the symptoms might not even surface for years. In older homes, insulation and pipe coverings are often the most likely and most harmful source of asbestos, because the dried material crumbles easily and allows asbestos freely.
Dust Control Plan
Dust isn’t just the worst inconvenience in most home remodeling projects but it’s also one of the factors that both asbestos and lead have in common. These pollutants both become harmful or even unsafe when disturbed and their dust particles present the most danger. You and your contractor may want to consider having a dust control plan for every project that produces dust. This will include cutting off the area you’re working on from the rest of the house, covering or removing furnishings and sealing all doors and air ducts. Although dust is a normal part of the reconstruction process, collect and minimize dust as much as possible to protect you, your family and workers.
Check For Mold and Moisture Issues
Wet or damp conditions can result in mold growth. Old homes tend to have numerous opportunities for different water-related incidents. You can assess busted pipes, broken water heaters, leaking roofs, backed up drains and flood water all live behind moisture. If each soaking wasn’t properly wiped out, mold could lurk underneath carpets or other floorings, behind walls, in the basement or attic.
Opening up walls or detaching floorings that are contaminated with mold can release toxic mold spores into the air. The most harmful is black mold, which is greenish black and usually slimy but can look powdery when it dries out. Respiratory and exasperation to the mucous membranes are common when you are exposed to black mold and could even result in worse health issues.
Look For Eco-Friendly Home Builders or Contractors
Green building products are increasing today in the market and you can find designers, suppliers, contractors, or custom home builders who can guide you through the best choices for safer building materials. You may want to consider looking for third-party eco-certifications. There are plenty of green building product certifications, but no single certification covers all health and environmental issues.
Use a Healthy Materials Checklist
When you shop for building products, you may want to create a safe and healthy materials checklist. You may also list down the harmful substances that you need to avoid to when buying products. Avoid items that are made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride/vinyl) including vinyl flooring, windows, or siding. Flexible vinyl uses phthalate chemicals and heavy metal stabilizers are just extra harmful ingredients you may want to avoid and instead turn to PVC-free. Also, you can choose products for your home that use low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds).
We spend 90% of our time indoors, and the majority of that period is spent in our own homes, schools, and offices. If we can advocate for safer and healthier building materials in all of those spaces, more manufacturers would be willing to develop healthy, affordable, sustainable building products and we can have more of them available in the market.
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