GUEST POST: How to Prevent Exposure to Harmful Chemicals and Asbestos

A note from Emily: I've never said yes to any offers for guest posting before, but when reader Brian Turner -- a health advocate and blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance -- approached me about writing a post about his cause, I couldn't rightly turn him down. We tore out every wall of our house, which was filled to the brim with some nasty stuff. We always made sure to wear respirators, gloves and protective suits during demolition. If you're a home renovator, please read on for some tips on protecting yourself and your family from harmful chemicals. 

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Home renovations can be great for a home owner, however the process may require exposure to numerous harmful chemicals. These harmful chemicals may include asbestos, mold, mildew, radon and lead paint. From exposure to these chemicals, home renovators are at risk to develop: mesothelioma, lung cancer, neurological disorders, lead poisoning, fatigue, liver damage, kidney damage, eye irritation, throat irritation, nose irritation, skin rash, nausea, balance and coordination problems. Many of these conditions are serious and should not be taken lightly. 

Proper precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of those people who are exposed. Let’s take a look at some of these dangerous conditions and how they can be prevented.

Prevent Asbestos Exposure With Tests and Protective Gear
Asbestos exposure may lead to mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that results after asbestos becomes lodged in the tissue lining of the heart, stomach or lungs. This deadly disease is different from other cancers because it is caused by minerals lying dormant in the tissue lining for 10 to 50 years before developing into full blown cancer.

To prevent asbestos exposure, wear a respirator, gloves and protective clothing.  Before returning to your home, shower and ensure all traces of the mineral are removed from the body. If someone from your home inhales the mineral from your clothes, you may also be putting that person at risk.

Many buildings that were built before the 1980s usually contain asbestos. This dangerous carcinogen is still used in many applications today despite the dangers of the material. Always test a building prior to renovation to ensure the reduction or elimination of the risk of exposure.

Prevent Radon Exposure With Testing Devices
Radon exposure can cause lung cancer. In fact, it is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smoking patients. Each year, radon claims the lives of 20,000 people or more.

This colorless, tasteless and odorless gas originates from Uranium. The gas is commonly found in basements and can be a major problem in basements when inhaled. There is no way to determine if radon is in the home without a radon detector.

Radon exposure is a huge health risk worldwide. The gas is produced in the rocks and minerals in the soil below the foundation of the home. If the foundation cracks, radon can creep into the basement and cause a problem.

Radon may also be present in water. Many people with wells often have a problem with radon in their drinking water. Radon may be found in construction materials such as granite, concrete, drywall, mortar and brick. The amount of radon found in these materials is small but can affect inhabitants of a home over a period of time.

Prevent Lead Paint Exposure With Tests and Protective Gear
Lead paint is responsible for lead poisoning and may be present in homes built prior to 1978. Lead paint exposure can lead to central nervous system. Tests must be conducted prior to home renovations to ensure there is no potential for lead exposure. Aspirators, gloves and protective clothing are often recommended.

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Thanks for the tips, Brian! Please feel free to ask him any questions below. I'm sure he'd be happy to answer or direct you where to find more information.

UPDATE 7/9/2103: Due to an overwhelming amount of spam comments on this post, I have disabled comments. If you have any questions, concerns or comments about this post, please contact me directly. Thanks. 

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