Is your home slowly killing you?
Believe it or not, there are quite a few things in and around your home that can cause cancer.
Bet you didn't realise that there are many items that could be in your home that could contain carcinogens - cancer causing substances. One of the most hazardous is asbestos. While this product has been banned for years, you will still find a variety of asbestos products, including insulation, in older homes.
As these products degrade over time they release airborne fibres into your home. If you suspect that you have asbestos in your home, whatever you do - don't touch it. It is important that you get in touch with a specialist asbestos removal company to deal with the problem.
Radon and Radiation
Here's something to think about, and I'm sure that many didn't realise that granite countertops can contain Radon. Radon, a radioactive by-product, is formed by the decay or uranium and can be found in rocks and soils.
According to the New York Times, as the popularity of granite countertops has increased in the last 10 years - so have the types of granite available. And with increased sales volume and variety, there have been more reports of potentially hazardous countertops, particularly among the more exotic and striated varieties from Brazil and Namibia.
If your granite countertops are imported and you are worried about them, consider having a specialist come to your home to have radon levels measured.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls - PCBs
Still got some old appliances in your home? Research by cancer.org has shown that old appliances contain carcinogenic PCB - even older fluorescent lighting. While these are no longer produced in first world countries, many third world and developing countries still produce carcinogenic PCBs.
The EPA advises that PCBs are man-made organic chemicals that have no smell or taste. Due to their high melting point and chemical stability, PCB were - and still can be - found in hundreds of applications. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the EPA have classified PCBs as a human carcinogen that are reasonably likely to cause cancer in humans.
If your home still has appliances older than 10 years, it's time to replace these with modern, energy efficient alternatives.
Hexavalent chromium (chromium VI)
Chromium VI is found in a variety of leather products that includes upholstered furniture, dyes and pigments, as well as leather shoes. Studies have shown the Chromium IV is released under high heat and exposure to UV rays and can post a significant health risk. Hexavalent chromium is also found in textile dyes, wood preservative products and anti-corrosion treatments.
When buying leather furniture it is in your best interest to pay attention to labelling and don't be shy about querying about whether or not leather furniture conforms to EU or other standards.
Urea Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is used in many household products, from carpet cleaners to fabric softeners. This known carcinogen can be found in almost any home in one form or another and its toxicity poses a significant danger to our health from long-term inhalation.
In homes containing products manufactured using urea-formaldehyde, inhabitants exhibited symptoms associated with eye and nasal irritation. In the 70s research indicated that formaldehyde was considered a probable human carcinogen, but ongoing research has since re-classified this as a known carcinogen.
Formaldehyde exposure comes from a number of products and can off-gas from board products, such as plywood, particle board or MDF, but it is also produced by paints, varnishes and other chemical finishes.
To ensure your home is relatively formaldehyde-free, look at organic or eco-friendly cleaning alternatives. Always read packaging when purchasing cleaning products to ensure products do not contain formaldehyde.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
This is something right out of the Bates Motel! Phthalates are added to plastics to increase flexibility and longevity. They are found in various consumer products and have been shown to cause liver damage and affect the lungs, as well as affecting the reproductive system. Products made with PVC vinyl are one product that you should steer clear of, but it's always better to buy products that are labeled as phthalate-free.
Err on the side of caution and choose healthy packaging and recycled or glass food containers and keep PVC vinyl out of the home.
There are so many products that we use on a regular basis that have now been shown to contain cancer-causing chemicals. And while increased lifespan is the main reason that cancer risk is rising, it can only benefit your family lifestyle to look at healthier alternatives for your family and home.