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Household Hazards: What Should You Know?

An article from the Chronicle Herald by Vanessa Roman

Recently, I had a friend share with me the exciting news that she was expecting her first child later this summer. We talked at length about many aspects of pregnancy, delivery and the seemingly endless list of baby equipment. I ended the conversation by saying she should baby-proof her home before little junior arrived. Her reply, “Oh no, my baby will be intelligent enough not to get himself injured.”

Perfectly mannered infants aside, the rest of us have to protect our families and visitors from certain household hazards. Maybe you are having a baby, or want to get a new pet or face unique allergies or environmental sensitivities, something which is becoming increasingly common.

Regardless of the challenge, we sometimes have to make allowances for others. So here are some common hazards you should be aware of.

1. Mold

Prevention is paramount when it comes to this household hazard. Mold spores in high quantities are very dangerous to your respiratory health. Damp, humid air in your home is mold’s best friend. This can be seen as condensation on the windows, icicle formations in the attic spaces or water ingress in the basement areas of a home.

To correct the moisture build up, have an air exchanger installed which will circulate fresh, outside air throughout the home all year round. You can also increase the insulation and ventilation in the attic or have a sump pump or water drainage system installed in wet basements. If there is a musty smell in your home, it is likely that you already have a mold problem which needs to be addressed immediately. Call a company which specializes in mold remediation to treat the problem.

2. Rot (dry and wet)

Similarly to mold, prevention is key. You often can’t spot the problem until it is too late, so it is important to perform annual inspections on your home, particularly before winter, to assess damage or need for repairs. You can do this yourself or hire a professional property inspector. Rot can seriously jeopardize the structural integrity of your property and the safety of the people residing within its walls. So be diligent in your search for rot and professional with any repairs needed.

3. Chlorine bleach

We have become reliant on bleach to clean everything, but it is corrosive and potentially dangerous. Every year, hospitals across Canada treat people who have had bleach splashed in their eyes and mouths. As a household hazard, it can be deadly to small children and pets that accidently ingest it.

So consider cleaning alternatives such as soap and hot water, or non-chlorine type bleach for laundry. The fewer dangerous substances you have in your house, the safer you and the people you love will be.

Many “hazards” are in the eyes of the beholder. Each of us has a different comfort level when it comes to using certain chemicals or performing routine property maintenance. In the case of my pregnant friend, she is confident the intelligence of her unborn child will be enough to ensure his future safety and maybe she is right. But “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” because household accidents can happen — even if you do have a Baby Einstein. Taking the time to limit potential risks to your property and the people in it, can be the key to ensuring long term health and happiness.