Industrial hygiene (aka occupational hygiene) focuses on occupational-related diseases due to many reasons.home fireplace

Have you considered, at your home, maybe even as you sleep, you might be exposed to something hazardous? Below are seven possible hazards in your home (related to IH):

  1. Radon. It comes from the ground and they say it causes cancer* (*some people question this toxicological data). You must perform a test to know if you have hazardous levels.
  2. Formaldehyde. If you have a newer house you have 2 things going against you: 1. your house is tightly built (no air leaks and limited fresh air) and 2. more particle board (recycled wood) was used in construction. Also, many furniture contains multidensity fiber wood (MDF) which off gas formaldehyde. Again test for it to know if you have dangerous levels.
  3. Lead. Is your house built prior to 1978? It probably has leaded paint. Any remodeling might distrupt it and you can expose your kids to lead.
  4. Isocyantes. (HDI, TDI, MDI, and others) Can cause asthma & respiratory issues. If your house was insulated with spray foam (polyurethane type) it needs to off-gas for awhile before you move right in.
  5. Asbestos. Causes cancer when airborne. If your house was built prior to 1980, you might have asbestos in your pipe insulation, popcorn ceiling, etc. Be sure and have it checked prior to remodeling.
  6. Mold. Respiratory diseases.
  7. Cleaning products. The symptoms can vary depending on the type of chemicals in the product. Use the recommended gloves, eye protection and respirator, if necessary, while cleaning with chemicals.

Do not be overly concerned about any one thing. Simply test and make any necessary adjustments. However, do keep in mind that most health recommendations for substances relate to normal working adults who go home to a non-hazardous place. There can be issues if you are either: not considered in the general population of healthy workers and, you go home to a place that isn’t free of additional hazards.

January is Radon awareness month. I posted this same topic last year.

As a reminder, if you have not measured the radon in your home, do it. Winter is the perfect time (since there is less airflow with the house buttoned up- and you’ll get a worst-case reading).

If your neighbor said he took readings and they came back fine, it doesn’t necessarily mean your home is ok. Check it!

Also, if your kids stay at a daycare, grandparents, or other place for a long period of the day/evening…you might also check the levels there.

Well, every time this year I start seeing Radon in the news. I probably have an altered view, and no one else sees these…, but it is a good time to think about you & your family’s radon exposure. For those that don’t know. Radon is a odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that occurs naturally in some areas. The real trouble is that the only way to know – is to test. Home testing is simple and I REALLY recommend it. Seriously.

There are plenty of good sites about this subject, and on testing. For a quick overview try:  EHS Today’s article

Click here for the radon awareness link on wordpress.

EPA’s website always has reliable information.

Finally,  I have used the testing from radon.com and found it to be useful and helpful. However, buyer beware, I have had some results with mixed information.