Remodeling your home can be a fun, exciting, and often, expensive endeavor. It can also be an opportunity to finally give yourself the dream home you’ve always deserved. Home remodeling can also be a frustrating process, and when work gets delayed, or unexpected obstacles are confronted, it is hard not to empathize. But, whether you enjoy the home remodeling process or loathe it, it is important that you do it carefully and with an eye towards avoiding health hazards. There are a number of hidden dangers in home remodeling, but most are easily avoidable. Below are some of the most common dangers of home remodeling.
#1 – Asbestos exposure.Exposure to asbestos is a major concern in home remodeling, whichcan lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other serious and debilitating diseases. Because asbestos was once common in home construction, and was used in the United States until the late 1970’s, remodeling a home built before that time period can stir up some asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency’s “Asbestos In Your Home” guideadvises homeowners to leave alone any asbestos in good condition. However, when it is fraying or crumbling, it can be dangerous. If you believe your home is in need of asbestos removal, do not attempt to do it yourselfcall a professional for help. If you are exposed to asbestos, consult with a law firm like Cooney & Conway to ensure you are protecting your legal rights.
#2 – Radon exposure. Another toxic substance that may be found in a home during renovations is radon gas. This gas can seep into homes through cracks under your home and crevices in your home’s lower levels. Radon has no smell, and is completely tasteless and therefore difficult to detect. Butif radon is released into a confined space and a person is exposed to it, it can be a real health hazard. Radon has been connected to lung cancer, so all homeowners should have their home tested.
#3 – Lead paint. Like asbestos, lead paint was once commonly used in older homes. If you live in an old home, specificallyanything built before 1978, you should consider painting over all the old coats of paint. Lead paint is especially hazardous to children. In home remodeling projects that cause old paint to chip, be sure to sweep up all the paint chips, and again, consider painting with a safe paint product.
#4 – Skin irritating materials. Any home remodeling usually creates a mess before the project is complete. But while getting a little dirty never hurt anyone, you need to be wary of oil-based or solvent-based liquids. Many commonly used paints and stains are oil and solvent based, so be sure to protect your hands by wearing gloves. Be sure you also do a thorough cleanup after you are done, cleaning both the floor and your skin. Clean your hands with an edible oil (e.g. canola or peanut oil) to remove any toxic matter, then wash with regular soap and water.
#5 – Vision threats.If you do not protect your eyes, remodeling can do lasting damage to them and your vision. Be sure to wear safety goggles so that you keep your eyes protected from dust and other toxins. If you are sanding old furniture or painting a wall, you are putting your eyes at risk. If you do get an irritant into your eyes, use an eyewash kit immediately to flush it out.
#6 – Damage to hearing. Remodeling can often cause a lot of noise. Power tools, especially, can drown out all other sounds, and even damage your hearing. Be sure to wear ear protection when engaging in noisy home improvement projects. Ear plugs protect your hearing from lasting damage from the sound of power tools. Failure to take proper measures can result in hearing loss, as well as a permanent ringing known as “tinnitus.”