How To Identify Toxins In Your Home

It’s only natural to want to protect your home against toxins. Image Via: Skyring Architects

The idea of identifying toxins in your home can be scary. Especially with all the media hype that seems to occur around so-called “toxic materials” that may cause cancer our other illnesses.

It only makes sense that you would want to keep your family safe and healthy. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prepare for finding potentially toxic material at some point during the course of your homeownership.

We’ve outlined some of the most common causes of toxins that occur in residential properties, as well as how to find them and remediate them. Give this article a read and keep it somewhere easily accessible. You never know when you may want to refer back to it in the future.

A keen eye and a little research can do wonders for remedying toxins. Image Via: Amanda Alligood

Look Out For Mold

Mold is the most common toxin found in residential homes. It’s a fungus that is caused when moisture repeatedly comes into contact with the building components of your property and, if left untreated, can cause health problems and structural damage.

The easiest way to identify mold is to use your senses. Keep an eye out for black, white, or green growths, especially in areas where there are visible leaks and/or water droplets. Mold is also associated with a persistent damp smell, so you may be able to sniff it out.

Small amounts of mold can be banished with home remedies. Scrub the spot with bleach until it’s gone and immediately set about fixing the leak. However, extensive patches or toxic mold, which can be difficult to differentiate but often has a slimy appearance, needs to be treated by a professional.

Seal sources of moisture to protect against mold. Image Via: Slifer Designs

Test for Radon

Radon is an orderless invisible gas that has been proven to cause lung cancer. It’s particularly dangerous because since you can’t see, smell or taste it, it’s possible that you and your family could breathe it in for an extended time without knowing. New buyers should definitely ask for the test in their inspection contingencies and even homeowners could benefit from having one done every few years.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it’s caused by a natural yet radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. As the uranium breaks down, it seeps into the air.

Luckily, radon can be easily tested for by professionals. If your test results show a rating of  4 pCi/L or higher, you’ll need to treat it by having a radon reduction system installed in your home.

Radon can settle in both older and newer homes. Image Via: Brian Watford ID

Learn About Asbestos

You’ve probably heard horror stories about asbestos, but in the interest of covering basics, the term refers to a flame-retardant form of insulation that was almost exclusively used in homes from the 1920’s – 1970’s. However, we now know that prolonged exposure to the fibers can lead to lung cancer.

If you’re in the market for an older home, there may likely be asbestos present in the household materials, especially around HV/AC ducts, siding, and certain types of linoleum flooring. Thankfully, sellers are required to disclose its existence, but don’t hesitate to ask questions.

It’s important to note that you should never attempt to remove asbestos on your own. Intact insolation is usually non-toxic, but once thee fibers are damaged, hazardous materials will be introduced to the air. Hire a professional who knows how to handle a removal properly.

Don’t hesitate to test for radon before buying a new property. Image Via: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Protect Against Toxic Sources

Though the three toxins listed above are the main ones that every homeowner needs to be aware of, they are certainly not the only ones in existence. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to keep your home healthy.

Since many toxins are transported through the air, air quality is a huge factor in protecting your home against Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Especially if your loved ones are prone to allergies, it may be worth it to invest in an air filter to help keep things purified.

The products that you buy for your home are also important in creating a healthy home. Whenever possible, it’s best to buy natural products that are made without harsh chemicals. If price is also a concern, feel free to look into sites like Pinrest for tutorials on how to make your own all-natural products for a fraction of the cost.

Cleaning your home with natural products will also help reduce toxic risk. Image Via: Homes by Avi

Since toxic materials have been linked to instances of cancer and other illnesses, it’s important to protect ourselves against exposure. Fortunately, by doing a little research and keeping a close eye on your home, it’s possible to identify toxins and treat them before they become a larger issue. We’ve listed some of the most common types of toxins found in residential homes. Feel free to use this article as a resource for now and well into the future.

Do you have any questions about toxins that you’d like for us to answer? Have you ever encountered toxic materials in your home? Let us know in the comments below.