There are many chemical dangers that could be hidden in your home. Children are most vulnerable to chemical exposure due to the growth and development they are going through as well as their smaller body mass. Use the following tips to reduce chemical exposure in your home.
1. Properly store household chemicals
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Read the storage instructions for cleaning supplies, pesticides, and other chemicals to ensure that they are stored properly.
Many chemicals have specific temperature ranges that they must be stored in. Once you have determined the best location in your home, determine how you will store the products so they are not accessible to children. Choose places that are high and out of reach and install a lock on cabinets if possible.
2. Use a water purifier
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Investing in a water purifier is an easy and effective way to remove chemicals and other pollutants from your drinking water. Filtered water has fewer chemicals than tap water, and most water purifiers remove hazards like zinc, chlorine, copper, and mercury. Exposure to these water contaminants can cause liver and kidney damage, nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal illness.
Water purifiers come in a variety of options and sizes including water pitchers, faucet systems, and large water dispensers that are convenient for businesses and large families. There are also water bottles that contain water purifiers making it easier to filter your water while you are away from home. These products contain indicators that let you know when it is time to replace the filter.
Another added benefit to using a water purifier is that they reduce odours and improve the taste of your water.
3. Follow instructions carefully
Before using any chemical products, thoroughly read the instructions to be sure you have good ventilation and appropriate protective clothing. Do not use expired products that could be more potent and potentially dangerous. Products with hazardous chemicals also require proper clean up and disposal.
4. Don’t smoke in your home
Second hand smoke contains toxic chemicals, many of which have been determined to cause cancer. Children who are exposed to second hand smoke have a higher chance of experiencing frequent ear infections, asthma attacks, and other respiratory illnesses.
Infants also have an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Traces of smoke that remain on clothing, furniture, and carpets can also be just as dangerous to children.
5. Find out if your home has high levels of lead
Lead exposure can negatively impact almost every body system and is particularly deadly to the nervous system, causing irreversible damage. Lead can be found in paints used on walls as well as toys, furniture, and other household items.
Before moving into new home, have the levels of lead tested in the home to ensure your children will not be at risk of lead poisoning. Most pediatricians screen for lead poisoning, and additional screenings can be done if there is a concern that your child has been exposed to lead.
6. Install a carbon monoxide detector
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odourless gas, making it difficult to detect. This gas can accumulate in homes as a result of using wood, goal, natural gas, kerosene, or charcoal to heat your home.
When carbon monoxide enters the respiratory system, it interferes with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. When cells do not receive enough oxygen, they cannot make energy which leads to tissue and organ failure and ultimately death.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the soil and rocks in the earth. Radon gas is not a concern unless it is trapped in buildings or homes, making it more concentrated in the air we breathe. Breathing radon gas can ultimately lead to lung cancer and children are more susceptible to the gas because their respiratory rate is almost twice that of an adult.
It is more prevalent in some geographic areas, making it more of a concern. Unfortunately Radon gas is also a colorless and odorless gas. Therefore it is advised that a simple radon test be done determine if the levels of Radon gas are too high in your home. If you determine that levels are high, a Radon Mitigation system can be installed to collect and remove the gas before it accumulates in your home.
Be prepared and proactive by researching your local poison control and emergency numbers to call in the event of a chemical exposure. Post this information somewhere in your home that is easily accessible to your family, friends, and babysitters.