Is a Health Hazard Lurking in Your Home?

Older homes in south Florida may harbor hazards that could harm your family’s health.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Sept. 17, 2014 - PRLog -- Pollution and other toxic substances are not just something cities and environment advocates need to worry about. Toxins can occur indoors, in our very homes, and left unchecked can seriously damage our health or the health of our loved ones. Florida residents have reason to be even more concerned as high temperatures and humidity can increase concentrations of some pollutants.

Older homes are particularly at risk, as newer construction uses more environmental-friendly materials and homes are designed with an eye towards proper ventilation and pollution-resistant features.

For instance, radon is a naturally occurring cancer-causing radioactive gas that can enter any home. The entire state of Florida has radon in the ground and seeps up from the ground into the air, sometimes entering homes through small cracks or fissures in the foundation or walls. The good news is that levels of radon in most counties of the state do not exceed EPA limits. In addition, it is relatively easy to test for and radon is easily mitigated with several inexpensive remedies.

Another common home pollutant is mold. It is also a naturally occurring pollutant. Mold reproduces by sending microscopic spores through the air, and when a spore finds the ideal wet spot it’ll get to work doing what it does best. Growing bigger, producing more spores, and working to break down dead organic matter. Mold likes moist and warm environments so it thrives in Florida homes. Mold has the potential to cause health issues because it produces allergens, irritants, and sometimes toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mold or spores can trigger asthma attacks or serious allergic reactions.

Some older homes may have been constructed with unhealthy materials. If the home was built before 1978 lead-based paint may have been used on walls, doors, windows, or sills. Lead poisoning can still occur from the old paint, especially if the paint is deteriorating.

While every system in the body can be affected and everyone exposed to lead can develop health problems, young children, babies, and pregnant women are at particular risk. Even low levels of lead poisoning can lead to behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and anemia. In rare cases, ingesting lead can lead to seizures, coma, and death.

Asbestos is another health hazard that was used during construction in older homes. You cannot tell by simply looking at a material whether or not it contains asbestos. Asbestos detection must be done by a trained and accredited professional. Having your home tested for asbestos is especially important if you are getting ready to remodel or if the home is damaged (like crumbling drywall or insulation that is falling apart). If a material containing asbestos is hit, rubbed, or damaged it may release asbestos fibers into the air. Over time, exposure to these fibers increases the chance of developing lung disease.

The only way to combat these potentially health-damaging pollutants is to first know whether or not your home has an environmental problem. Enlisting the service of an experienced, well-trained, and accredited home inspector will provide you with the answer. South Florida Home Inspection Association is a member of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) and adheres to their high standards of practice and code of ethics. They are offering residents in the Hobe Sound and Palm Beach, Florida areas their experience and expertise with environmental inspections for:

·         Air quality

·         Lead-based Paint

·         Radon

·         Asbestos

For more information on how an environmental home inspection could help you, please visit their website at or call (561) 818-5593.

Sydney Smidt
South Florida Home Inspection Association News
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