When most people think of the word “dangerous” probably the last thing that comes to our mind is linking that word with our homes. Most of us feel that we are at our safest when we’re in our homes — but are we? Would it surprise you to know that quite a lot of the danger is “hidden” in plain view? Things we take for granted and don’t even give a second thought to could be the very things that make us sick. Ordinary, everyday things like carpets or pressed wood paneling have hidden dangers in them that are very real. Below is a list of 5 possibly dangerous items that most people have in their homes right now.
Who doesn’t like wall-to-wall carpeting? It gives a room a luxurious look and makes it feel warm and inviting. Unfortunately because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) linked to new carpet installations, it can present a danger to a person’s health. The dyes and glues that emit the VOC’s from the carpet can often cause health problems. Research is ongoing to find out exactly what chemicals are being released by carpets and whether the danger from them is serious or not.
Pressed Wood Paneling
This pressed wood was very popular in the 1970’s and could be seen in a lot of rec rooms and even kitchens. It was made from bits and pieces of logs and other wood that were squeezed together under pressure. The problem comes from the glue that holds all the pieces together. The glue is a resin that has urea-formaldehyde in it. This is a health danger to both people and animals. If you live in an older home with this paneling in it, using an air conditioner or dehumidifier can help offset any outgassing.
Many of us have laser printers in our homes. Who would think they could pose a health problem? Research has been done that confirms that laser and inkjet printers can release dangerous chemicals such as VOC’s, ozone and particulates into the air. Some links between lung and heart disease have also been found. For your health’s sake you should check the emission rate on your next printer before you buy.
Yes, something as innocent looking as a baby bottle can pose health risks. The reason? Most bottles are made from polycarbonate plastics. These plastics are made with a chemical called bisphenol-a (BPA). When the bottle is heated the BPA is released. BPA is known as a “hormone disruptor” and could cause development and neurological problems for infants.
Air Fresheners and Cleaning Mixtures
When these products are used in excess or in an unventilated room they can release toxic levels of chemicals called ethers and terpenes. Together they form a dangerous combination. Air fresheners are linked to many VOC’s so use them with care. The best way to avoid problems is to keep the air in your home circulating.