Buying a house may be the dream of a lifetime, especially for a pair of newlyweds eager to start their life together and have a family. And while the beauty and appeal of an old home that needs reconditioning lies in the promise of having it look exactly the way you want it, there are some health aspects you need to consider if you and your family wish to rejoice in great health.
Lead paint and other lead sources
Old homes are bound to have several lead sources that you normally would not even consider, and these may be detrimental to the health of your family. Although lead paint has been banned in the United States since 1978 there are some old houses, built before this date, that are likely to have lead-based paint jobs which deteriorate in time and it is precisely this deterioration that cause lead particles to contaminate house dust. There are also trace amounts of lead in ceramics, in solders, in pipes, gasoline, batteries and even cosmetics. If tests don’t prove otherwise, assume there is lead paint in your home and reduce the risk of exposure by closing doors and preventing children from reaching surfaces which may contain lead-based paint and by keeping house dust to a minimum.
Another thing to make sure you eliminate from your home is mold-microscopic organisms that take part in the breakdown of organic matter. As opposed to outdoors where molds grow freely, indoors they can be easily disturbed and release spores into the surrounding air. Apart from mild symptoms such as congestion, eye irritation, sore throat, cough and rashes, there are certain mold species that can cause serious respiratory disease, especially in immune-compromised individuals. Moreover, there are studies that prove that exposure to mold within the first 12 months of life may significantly increase the risk of childhood asthma. Therefore, keep your home dry and clean, check pipes and fix leaks or faucets, consider investing in ventilation systems for kitchens and bathrooms or dehumidifiers and last but not least, avoid carpets in humid rooms such as the kitchen or the bathroom.
Granted, this is not an indoor issue and should therefore not belong to such a list but because of its significant relation with health, the effect of pesticides deserves mentioning. You may not be looking forward to the cost of termite treatment, or cockroach extermination, but it is something one must do. Our lawn or rose bushes may be the envy of the neighborhood not only because of the tremendous effort you put into them, but also because of the products used to keep pests away, but because of their widespread use, people are not only exposed to these substances through their diets, but also in their backyards. And headaches, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, neurological symptoms such as hand tremors are only some symptoms that increasingly develop in people who are constantly subjected to the effects of these substances. Our recommendation is therefore to give them a pass whenever the occasion presents itself because not doing so would be doing your family a great disservice. At the end of the day, a modest lawn and a single rose on a shrub that has not been treated is better than a treated garden and a child undergoing thorough testing.