I have been reading about asbestos lately. How often do you hear that? My guess is not very often. But, I have. And guess what? It is linked to the big C. Cancer! Being exposed to asbestos can put you at risk for developing mesothelioma cancer. A very rare but aggressive type of cancer that is known to develop in the lining of the lungs.
Asbestos was used in many industries early on. It wasn’t until the 1970s when the US Product Safety Commission banned its use in wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces. For houses built before the 80s, it may very well be in your home.
With that, there are other polluntants at home that could be doing more harm to your lungs than good too. Below is a quick list of several air pollutants commonly found in homes and ways to avoid these:
- Toxic cleaners. I am guilty myself of buying any cleaner without looking at labels, but some chemicals in cleaning products have been linked to health problems like asthma. Nowadays, there are many non-toxic options on the marketplace and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a website to easily help you locate these. Or, you can even opt to make your own cleaner.
- Smoke. This is a no brainer and luckily, most people do not like their houses to smell of smoke. However, if you have a household guest that wants to light up in the house, tell him or her to take it elsewhere.
- Radon. This invisible gas can cause cancer and it can be found in any home. So what can you do? Test your home. The National Radon Program Services has helpful tips on testing your home.
- Leaks and Drips. If you have a leak in your home, the standing water can encourage the growth of mold. Be observant and fix any leaks you find throughout your home.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These can be found in air fresheners and aerosol spray products, among other household items. VOCs can lead to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and headaches. This article I read from The Organic Institute states, “A clean home really shouldn’t smell like anything.” I like a fresh scent in the home, but fragrant air fresheners may be doing more harm than good.
I love the graphic below and hope that it helps build more awareness of healthy lungs. What is one thing you will do at home to keep your lungs healthier?