As a Wellness Architect and WELL AP, I have seen first-hand the hidden dangers that can lurk in our homes. Many of these dangers are invisible, but they can have a significant impact on our health and well-being. While my intent is not to scare anyone, some of the dangers below can easily be avoided with a little education and awareness.
In this post, I will highlight ten of the most common hidden dangers and provide tips on how to reduce your exposure to them.
Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ): Poor indoor air quality can be caused by a variety of factors, including chemicals, mould, and inadequate ventilation. It can cause respiratory problems, headaches, and other health problems. To improve your indoor air quality, make sure your home is well-ventilated and choose natural, non-toxic household products.
Mould: Mould can grow in damp and humid areas of your home, such as bathrooms and basements. It can cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and other health issues. To prevent mould, ensure any water leaks or damage are rectified within 48 hours, use your ventilation fan in the bathroom and make sure to keep your home dry and well-ventilated.
VOCs: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that can be found in household products such as paint, cleaners, furniture and air fresheners. They can cause headaches, dizziness, and other health problems. To reduce your exposure to VOCs, choose products that are labeled as low-VOC or no-VOC.
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a chemical that can be found in furniture, flooring, mattresses and other household products. It can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as more serious health problems.
Lead: Lead can be found in old paint, pipes, and other household products. It can cause developmental delays, learning disabilities, and other health problems. Lead is not a problem IF it not disturbed. If you are considering a renovation or demolition of your home, always test for lead and have any lead-based products removed by accredited professionals.
Asbestos: Asbestos was commonly used in building materials until the 1980s. It can cause lung cancer and other health problems. Again, not a huge issue if it remains undisturbed, but if you are planning a renovation or demolition of your home, always test for asbestos and have it removed or sealed by accredited professionals.
Pesticides: Pesticides can be found in food and household products. They can cause headaches, dizziness, and other health problems. Pesticide drift is also an issue for those living close to golf courses, parks and farms etc. Be aware of when the local council or organisation is spraying with pesticides and try to keep door and windows closed on those days. Most councils will note on their websites what days they are spraying. Also removing shoes at the front door to your home can help keep dirt and pesticides outside. Also try to choose organic or pesticide-free food where you can, and use natural pest control methods.
Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that can be produced by gas appliances. It can cause headaches, dizziness, and other health problems. To reduce your exposure to carbon monoxide, make sure your gas appliances are properly ventilated and install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
Electromagnetic Radiation: Electromagnetic radiation is emitted by electronics such as cell phones and Wi-Fi routers. It can cause headaches, fatigue, and other health problems. To reduce your exposure to electromagnetic radiation, limit your use of electronics, and keep them away from your body while in use.
Radon: More commonly found in the USA, radon is a colourless, odourless gas that can seep into your home from the ground. While levels in Australia are well below the worldwide average, it can still be found in our air. It is commonly found in basements and subfloor areas, seeping into the air in our homes. If you suspect you have radon issues, you can test your home and install mitigation systems if required.
While it is important we feel safe and secure in our homes, by being aware of these dangers and taking steps to reduce our exposure to them, we can create a healthier and safer living environment for ourselves and our families.