Use healthy materials

A number of construction products and home renovation materials sold today actually contain a variety of toxic chemicals that have unknown health effects on the human body. Take precautions when using these materials and try using more natural ones when you can. You can ask for Material Safety Data Sheets from product manufacturers.

Read warning labels and instructions

Many household chemicals and products have warnings and instructions written on the containers. Before you begin working with a new product, be sure to familiarize yourself with the instructions. You want to be aware of any health risks for that particular product. For example, some chemicals may require the use of gloves, masks, or other types of protection. They may be safe to use in some situations and environments, but not others.

Protect ducts

When you remodel, some contaminants may get sucked into your HVAC ducts, like drywall dust, sawdust, and other types of dirt that may linger long after your project is complete. Prevention goes a long way. You can seal off any supply and return ducts using plastic wrapping. If you able, you can also avoid operating cooling or heating systems while you are renovating. Following the completion of your project, have your ductwork thoroughly cleaned by a professional.

Asbestos Hazards

Asbestos Photo

One potential hazard that you want to avoid is asbestos. The toxic fibers have been known to cause mesothelioma — a deadly lung disease. Asbestos is currently banned in most materials, but was used in the past in insulation and other building materials.

If your home was built in the 1950s or earlier, you may unknowingly have asbestos in your home. If you suspect it is there, you don’t want to be stirring up the air around it.

This can cause it to circulate in the air, putting you at risk for exposure. Contact a professional to test for it.

Other tips

Prior to remodeling, have a professional contractor come in and test your home’s air quality for any harmful chemicals that may contaminate your home’s indoor air. They can take whatever action is required to remove or prevent any air contaminants from circulating in your home, placing your health at risk.

Before renovating, resolve any problems with mold or mildew. The activity from your renovations may cause mildew and mold spores to go airborne, raising the possibility of them being inhaled into the lungs.

Test your indoor air quality. You will want to specifically test for the presence of radon — a colorless, odorless gas that has been found to cause lung cancer. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer besides cigarette smoke.

Another thing you can do is to control moisture levels in your home. Moisture can be a habitat for toxic mold, so cut off any potential source of growth for its growth by taking appropriate measures. Make sure your oven range hoods, bathroom fans, and dryer vents all exhaust to the outside of your home.

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