Do you know the potential hazards in your home, condo or apartment?

by | May 28, 2024 | Health and Wellness

House, condo, apartment or whatever you call home, it’s supposed to be a safe space for friends and family to gather. But our dwellings can also be home to things that can pose a risk to our health, especially if we don’t know how to protect ourselves. Here are three things to be on the lookout for, and what to do about them.

Lead paint and plumbing

Houses built before 1991 may contain a variety of products contaminated with lead, most commonly paint and parts of the plumbing system. Ingesting lead can cause developmental issues in children, damage to the brain, nervous system and kidneys of people of all ages, and other problems.

Lead paint was used inside homes until 1960, and it’s still on the walls of many older homes. The lead gives it a sweet taste so if old paint is flaking off, children might eat it. Lead was also found in exterior paint until 1990. If you think your home might be affected, there are testing kits and various ways to fix a positive result.

Lead was also commonly used in plumbing until it was banned in pipes in 1975 and when lead solder was prohibited in 1986. Most municipalities offer free or low-cost kits to test for the presence of lead in your home’s water supply.

Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the ground. Exposure to this gas is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. All homes have some radon in them. The only way to know how much is by testing. Testing is easy; you can purchase a DIY test kit or hire a professional to measure the radon levels in your home. If you find out that high levels are present, it can be fixed by a professional.

Household chemicals

Many of us stock a surprising number of chemicals in our homes. These can include everyday cleaning products, bleach and other stain removers in the laundry room and the windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze we rely on for safe driving.

Protect younger children by storing housecleaning, laundry and painting supplies in a locked cupboard or storage room that they can’t get into.

Teach kids what the various hazard signs mean on a package, including poison, explosive, corrosive and flammable.

If someone has consumed a toxic substance, seek medical attention or call Canada’s new toll-free number immediately for advice: 1-844-POISON-X (1-844-764-7669). In Quebec, call 1-800-463-5060.

Learn more about some of the risks you might have in your home at canada.ca/healthy-home

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