Angie's List: Home Toxins

Your home should be your safe haven.

But sometimes your home is a harbor for toxins that could affect your family's health.

In today's Angie's List report, Terry tell us about three toxins that could be lurking in your home.

"Consumers may not realize but there are potential dangers in your home. The common toxins we hear about are mold, radon and asbestos,” says Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks.

A common culprit in many homes: mold.

If you have less than 10 square feet of mold damage, you could tackle removing that yourself.

For homeowner, Rebecca Shopp, she needed to call in a professional.

"When it first happened I was not as concerned because it was such a small area that got moldy, but then when I had it patched and a few months later found mushrooms in the carpet is when I realized it was a much larger area and it got to the point where it was growing mushrooms then I was more concerned. I had a company come out test and they went into the crawlspace,- I had not gone into the crawlspace and I don't want to go into the crawlspace, that's when they found a lot more mold than I was expecting. Once I knew how much there was then I was really concerned.”

Hicks says mold can be found anywhere, "There is a minimal level of mold in every house and a lot of times you might find it in your bathroom or your basement, but the key here is keeping it at a minimal level and if you find that you have more mold you want to have it taken care of right away. One member even said that she found mold underneath her couch. First thing you want to do is have your house tested by an independent tester who sends it to a lab to have the results analyzed.”

Mike Honan is a Mold/Asbestos Abatement Contractor, "Typically, they can - there are options where they can actually remove it themselves. It depends on the situation, but the majority of the time they should seek some help because once you disturb the mold then the spores tend to spread so we are trying to in our situation control that environment. The homeowner in small situations if the mold is not to prevalent then they can do the clean-up themselves."))

Radon is another possible toxin that could be present in your home - but you can test for that too.

"Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is caused by the breakdown of uranium in the earth and it can actually seep into your home so it's important to have your home tested for radon and if it reads to high you need to have a mitigation system because if you don't it can lead to health problems. In particular, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers,” described Hicks.

And exposure to asbestos can cause different forms of cancer.

Hicks continues, "Asbestos is a harmful toxin and it was most often used in insulation and construction materials prior to the 1980's. So if your house is built before 1980 your home might be at risk and the only way to discover whether you have it is to have your home tested."

If you're concerned your home has any of these toxins, the first step is to actually have your home tested.

And the key is to have someone independent test it.

Have the test sent to a lab to be analyzed.

You want one person conducting the test, and another actually fixing the problem.


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