Looking around your home, it can be hard to believe that what looks so clean could still be harbouring potent household toxins!
It can be even more challenging to realize many of those toxins are poisons you introduced into your own home space. Of course, this wasn’t intentional, but now these toxins are causing health symptoms that make home life uncomfortable, to say the least.
In this post, learn about seven potent household toxins that may be lurking inside your home right now and learn what to do to get them out!
1. Perchloroethylene (PERC)
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, dry cleaning contains some of the most potent household toxins, among them a volatile organic compound (VOC) called perchloroethylene, or PERC.
Other names include tetrachloroethylene and PCE.
PERC is colorless with a sweet odor. It is a known human carcinogen that can be particularly damaging to the very young, the elderly and unborn babies. PERC works by damaging your central nervous system and can cause a wide range of health symptoms.
Symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, fluid buildup in the lungs, unconsciousness, trouble breathing, respiratory distress, vision problems, confusion and memory loss. It can also be fatal.
Paradichlorobenzene, or 1,4-dichlorobenzene, is the active ingredient in mothballs, which means it is a potent pesticide.
Mothballs are no longer as popular for household use as they once were, but it is important to know that in addition to mothballs, there are at least 30 other pesticide-type products that also contain paradichlorobenzene as an active ingredient.
Paradichlorobenzene is most commonly absorbed when you breathe it in or absorb it through your skin. From there, it enters your bloodstream, fatty tissues, major organs and (if you are pregnant or nursing) breast milk.
Health symptoms after exposure include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, vision problems, respiratory issues, skin burning and damage to the liver and kidneys (especially in pets).
3. Mould spores
While it can be hard to believe at first, over-watered houseplants can be one of the main sources of mould spores inside your home!
Symptoms of mould exposure can include respiratory distress, increased allergy and asthma attacks, trouble breathing, coughing, skin irritation and wheezing.
4. Pet proteins (dander)
It is a common misconception that pet shedding is what causes pet-related allergies. But actually, it is a protein that pets produce through the saliva, skin and urine that causes the allergic response.
In dogs, these proteins are called Can f 1 and 2, and in cats, the protein is called Fel d 1. This protein adheres to shed hair, where you then absorb it through your skin and inhale it while you are cuddling with your pet or cleaning up shed hair.
Pet allergies can cause increased asthma attacks, swelling and itching of eyes and nose, respiratory distress and irritation, skin irritation, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and trouble breathing.
The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports that formaldehyde is typically present in small quantities in nearly all homes.
If someone in your family smokes or uses tobacco products, if you have recently added new furniture or completed a home remodeling project, if you use gas appliances or there are any carpets or manufactured wood products in your home, you may have higher concentrations of formaldehyde.
Symptoms of formaldehyde exposure include respiratory irritation, breathing problems, skin irritation, increased asthma incidents or worsening COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder). Ongoing formaldehyde exposure at higher levels can cause cancer.
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that seeps up from the surrounding soil and into your home. According to Health Canada, radon can be present in small amounts in many homes.
Radon is most damaging when inhaled and can be more harmful to children than adults. Smokers of any age are most at risk, since radon can increase the incidence of lung cancer. Radon itself is colourless and odourless. The only way to detect radon is to have a test done.
For all homes built prior to 1960 in Canada, there is a risk of lead exposure from both interior and exterior paint. If your home was built between 1960 and 1990, there is a risk of lead exposure from exterior paint. For homes built after 1990, Health Canada states there is a very low risk of exposure.
Lead is naturally present in the earth, but typically you won’t feel any health symptoms unless you are using products that contain lead or you have lead-based paint or products in your home.
Symptoms of lead exposure include damage to an unborn baby and to young children’s development. Lead impacts the nervous system, brain, blood and kidneys. Vomiting, diarrhea, coma and death are possible impacts of lead exposure.
3-Step Cleanup Process
- The best way to start clearing toxins out of your home or workplace is to schedule an indoor air quality test. This silent 72-hour indoor air quality test will tell you precisely which toxins are present in what quantities in your indoor space.
- Next, you can take immediate action to begin cleaning up your indoor air supply by scheduling an indoor air duct cleaning. This will safely remove trapped toxins from your air duct system, effectively preventing them from recirculating further throughout your space.
- From here, we highly recommend installing either a HEPA filtration system or an ultraviolet purification system to catch remaining particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, mould and mildew spores, bacteria, fungi, viral matter and pollutants that may still be trapped inside your home or office.
Get in Touch
Is someone in your family struggling with increasing health symptoms and/or allergy or asthma attacks? Household toxins may be to blame!
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470 to schedule your indoor air quality consultation today! Right now, save 10 percent on all of our value-added indoor air duct cleaning packages (offer is good through July 31, 2018).