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5 Cancer-Causing Pollutants Lurking in Your Home

Handyman checking of air ventilation 2

Home should be a haven, but if the indoor air is laden with carcinogens, your family’s health could be at risk. Learn about the most common cancer-causing substances lurking in your home and how to get rid of them.

Cigarette Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer and can also cause heart disease. In children, exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to asthma attacks, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

To eliminate cigarette smoke from your home:

  • Don’t smoke inside.
  • Create a designated place for guests to smoke outside.
  • Consider quitting—“firsthand” cigarette smoke is an even more dangerous carcinogen than secondhand smoke.

Formaldehyde

This colorless, flammable gas is one of the most widely recognized, volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It has a pungent odor and is off-gassed from numerous items in your home, including building materials, insulation, fabric, paint, paper products, and cosmetics. Formaldehyde is linked to lung cancer, leukemia, and asthma.

To eliminate formaldehyde from your home:

  • Choose exterior-grade pressed wood for remodeling projects.
  • Only use particle board if it’s laminated to protect against off-gassing.
  • Avoid air fresheners and use unscented soaps and detergents.
  • Open the windows when the weather is nice to ventilate the interior.

Radon

This colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas is a byproduct of uranium breaking down in the soil beneath your home. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the second leading cause overall.

To eliminate radon from your home:

  • Purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit to find out if your levels are high.
  • Seal and caulk any cracks in the foundation and basement walls.
  • Install plastic sheeting in the crawlspace to act as a radon barrier.
  • Install a radon mitigation system to divert the gas harmlessly into the atmosphere.

Ozone

When located high in the stratosphere, ozone protects the earth from the sun’s damaging UV rays. However, ground-level ozone is the primary ingredient in smog. It causes and exacerbates respiratory problems and increases the risk of lung disease.

To eliminate ozone from your home:

  • Don’t use ozone-producing office equipment, including laser copiers and printers.
  • Research electric air cleaners and ion generators carefully before purchasing. Many of these products generate ozone as a byproduct.

Asbestos

The most common place to find asbestos is in older buildings with vermiculite insulation, “popcorn” ceilings, and cement board siding or shingles. Asbestos can cause respiratory disease and various types of lung cancer.

To eliminate asbestos from your home:

  • Hire an asbestos abatement service to test and remove asbestos-containing building products from your home. This may only be necessary if you’re planning a renovation or repair because asbestos is harmless if you leave it undisturbed.

If you suspect high levels of carcinogens in your home, contact DKI Services for help. We offer asbestos abatement, smoke damage restoration, and other remediation services designed to restore healthy indoor air.