Today, The Deck Store, Inc. has a guest blogger. Brian Turner is a health advocate and blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Where many home owners are planning renovations to older homes which could contain paint and asbestos, we feel that this information is highly relevant to you.

The article below is about the health and safety concerns that one should keep in mind while doing home renovations or DIY projects, and how exposure to certain materials, such as paint and asbestos, can cause harm to yourself and family members.

With the current state of the economy, many home owners are looking at ways of sprucing up their homes by doing things themselves. However, many of them are unaware of dangers that may be lurking due to hazardous chemicals and substances. Let’s examine some of the potential dangers and how to avoid them.

Paint Hazards

Many paints that are based upon petrochemicals have chemicals in them that can be hazardous when inhaled. These substances are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). If you are going to be painting in areas with little ventilation, it is important to wear a mask filter over your nose and throat while painting.

Another option would be to choose water-based paint. These latex paints are generally safer and easier to work with than their lead-based cousins.

Lead is one material that is sometimes encountered when doing a home renovation. It is toxic, particularly to children. It can be found in paint and older pipes. Over 40 million homes were painted with lead-based paint prior to its ban in 1978.

Lead exposure can negatively impact a child’s developing brain and nervous system, leading to lower IQ, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities. Lead also causes harm to adults. It can lead to hypertension and high blood pressure. Pregnant women exposed to lead can pass it on to their unborn children.

The most common exposure to lead is by breathing in lead dust. It can also get into people’s bodies through lead in paint chips or the soil. Sometimes, you cannot see lead dust if it has been vaporized into very fine particles.

The greatest danger when it comes to lead is renovating an older home that was painted with lead-based paint. Scraping or sanding these materials can disturb them, sending dangerous levels of lead dust into the air where it is inhaled.

Another danger is older pipes that are made of lead. This could lead to the consumption of lead through drinking water and exposure through bath water.

Asbestos Risks

Asbestos is a material that was once mined for use in applications like fireproofing and insulation. It saw widespread usage in homes and other building in the 1950s and earlier. Some years later, it was discovered that asbestos can cause a fatal lung disease called mesothelioma. Asbestos is the only known cause of the disease.

If you are working in a home that has recently been built with recently manufactured building materials, it is probably safe to assume no asbestos is present. However, for older homes there is the risk that some asbestos is present.

If you suspect the presence of asbestos, do not disturb the area where it might be. This runs the risk of getting the toxic asbestos fibers circulating in the air, where they can be inhaled, leading to mesothelioma. The best thing to do is to contact a professional who can confirm the presence of asbestos and remove it safely. Do not work in the suspected area until the inspection is complete.

Do you have concerns about hazards related to home renovation? Share your thoughts in comments or mail to Brian Turner – brian.turner752@gmail.com