5 Hidden Home Dangers that May Affect Your Family’s Health

Your home is your sanctuary; your safe place. But what if your home wasn’t as safe as you thought. These five hidden home dangers may be affecting your family’s health.

1. Scented Candles

The subtle fragrance of a scented candle can brighten a room and make a home smell fresher, but underneath the surface, they may do more harm than good.

Some researchers aren’t sure that the benefits of aromatic candles outweigh the risks.

The EPA released a report in 2001 that found scented candles and incense can be a source of indoor pollution. Some of these products can have negative health effects.

Candles with lead core wicks can raise air lead concentrations above the EPA-recommended levels. Smoke from incense can also cause skin allergies and cancer if not properly ventilated.

Experts say scented candles can be harmful to people who are prone to migraines and those with asthma. Vegetable wax candles may be a good alternative, and do not produce toxic chemicals.

2. Carbon Monoxide

The CDC estimates that more than 400 people die every year from carbon monoxide, known as a “silent killer.” The gas, which has no odor or flavor, gives no warning before making victims very sick, and can easily kill those who are unaware.

Carbon monoxide becomes an issue when organic fuel is burned in a space without proper ventilation. Common sources of this deadly gas include gas water heaters, kerosene, wood stoves, gas space heaters, tobacco smoke, fireplaces and automobile exhaust.

Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home can save your life.

3. Pesticides

From weed killers to insect repellant and even flea shampoo, pesticides can be both inside and outside the home. They can also be found in wallpaper, mothballs and pressure-treated lumber.

The World Health Organization says pesticides are one of the leading causes of childhood poisonings. If used improperly, they can harm your family’s health. Effects can include breathing problems, nerve damage and more.

Make sure that all products containing pesticides are stored in a locked cabinet and out of reach of children. Using products according to the label’s instructions can also help prevent poisoning and health issues.

4. Mold

Mold isn’t always obvious in a home. Water damage caused by a leaking pipe in the wall can lead to mold growth behind the wall – out of sight.

Mold can only grow in moist areas where there’s oxygen and organic material. If you have areas in your home that are damp with poor ventilation, there’s a good chance you have mold.

Exposure can cause eye irritation, congestion, coughing and other allergy-like symptoms. Mold can also cause lung infections and trigger asthma attacks in susceptible people.

When leaking pipes are the cause of mold growth, plumbers can repair the damage. But you’ll need to clean up the mold yourself or hire a professional.

5. Lead

Lead exposure has been linked to serious ailments, including mental illness, behavior disorders, nerve disorders and other issues.

While laws have eliminated or minimized lead in consumer products, older homes may still have this metal. Lead can be found in old lead-based paints, drinking water (from lead pipes) and even household dust.

Test your water and home for lead, especially if your house was built before 1978.