Contaminants In Your Home


Today's show is all about contaminants in your home!

Check out the info below to make sure you know everything you need to know about radon, mold, asbestos and lead.

Crawl Space Mold Side

Photo: Getty Images

RADON

• Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium and is found in nearly all soils throughout North America.

• Some regions have higher concentrations than others, but these are averages and individual home sites may vary greatly.

• Nearly all homes have trace levels of radon inside.

• Radon is several times heavier than air but still migrates up through the ground because of higher pressures in the soil than in the air.

• Radon gets into homes through cracks and other holes in the foundation. It’s then trapped inside where it can build up and become a problem.

• The EPA warns that long term exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and accounts for 21,000 deaths per year.

  • You can’t see, smell, or taste it... Only a test can determine its presence! And tests run from $15 - $30.

• But remember radon is NOT a death sentence to a home!

  • Mitigation systems can be installed in most homes and can reduce Radon levels by as much as 99%.
  • The average cost for a system is $1400.
  • New construction systems can cost as little as $300!

MOLD

• Mold is a type of fungus -- colonies of small organisms that are found almost everywhere! They can be black, white, orange, green, or purple.

• Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature, breaking down dead leaves, plants, and trees.

• Molds thrive on moisture and reproduce by means of tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air. Everyone is exposed to mold every day.

• When mold grows on a surface, spores will eventually be released into the air where they can be easily inhaled. If you're sensitive to mold and inhale a large number of spores, you could experience health problems...

• What’s the difference between mold and mildew?

  • Mildew is also a fungus. It is distinguished from its cousin mould by its color. Molds appear in shades of black, blue, red, and green. Mildew is white. It appears as a thin, superficial growth with hyphae (fungal filaments).

• DIY Mold Test Kits are available at the hardware store and usually range from $20 - $40.

ASBESTOS

• Asbestos is dangerous when it becomes airborne.

• Asbestos is a carcinogen (mesothelioma).

• Both abatement or encapsulation are safe and acceptable.

• Abatement is done only by asbestos certified contractors.

LEAD

• Lead-based paints were banned for residential use back in 1978... But homes built in the U.S. before 1978 are likely to have some lead-based paint.

• When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead paint chips and dust.

• Lead poisoning occurs by ingesting paint chips or breathing in lead dust.

• Like asbestos, lead paint can be abated or encapsulated

• You can absolutely paint over lead-based paint if the existing paint is in good condition! - ie: not cracked, bubbled or flaking.

• In fact, it's less expensive and safer than lead paint removal, since it doesn't disturb the existing paint and doesn't tend to release lead dust or toxic particles into the air.

• You must use a specialized encapsulant paint and carefully follow all instructions.


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