Subtle Ways Your House Can Make You Sick

It seems like just about everything is bad for you these days. Sitting all day at work is bad, but so is standing all day. Sugar is bad for you, but corn syrup might be a lot worse (and let’s not get started on artificial sweeteners). Butter is bad, so you should switch to margarine … no, wait, never mind, that’s worse, too. And going to work is definitely bad for you, especially if you work in a “sick building.” So maybe you should just stay home and eat a salad, right? Not necessarily: Staying home has hidden hazards, too. But you don’t need to panic. Just learn what to look out for and be proactive to ensure a safe home.

Cool as a (Moldy) Cucumber

It’s awfully nice to be able to crank up the air conditioning on a hot summer day. But when’s the last time you had your ducts cleaned? That cool air can create condensation in your HVAC system, which can lead to mold. Those cool breezes could be carrying spores that cause respiratory problems.

Clean the Cleaner

People normally rely on a vacuum cleaner to help suck up dust and other allergens. But if they don’t have a good-quality filter, they might just be spewing this stuff back into the air. A vacuum with a “HEPA-like” filter isn’t enough: Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter for the best air quality in your home. If you’re hiring a cleaning service, make sure that their vacuum filters make the grade. They could be bringing these substances from other people’s homes and blowing them around in yours.

Clean the Cleaning Products

The vacuum isn’t the only possible culprit when it comes to things you use to clean your home that can actually make you sick. Most of the typical cleaning products people buy at the store contain all sorts of harmful chemicals. Worse still, most people don’t follow all of the safety precautions advised on their labels, like wearing rubber gloves or ensure adequate ventilation. The best way to fix this problem is also the cheapest: Use green cleaning supplies, which you can make yourself from ingredients you might already have around the house.

Beware of Radiation

Did you know that your home could actually contain unsafe levels of radioactivity? The culprit is radon, which comes from the natural breakdown of uranium, which is naturally found in soil. Radon can seep into your home from the ground and build up over time, and prolonged exposure to high levels of radon brings a high risk of lung cancer. That’s scary stuff! But don’t panic: There are things you can do about this problem. First of all, knowledge is power; get yourself a radon test kit and follow the instructions that come with it to find out the radon level in your home. If it turns out that you have a problem, you’ll need to hire a contractor to install a radon remediation system. Unfortunately, it won’t be cheap, but it’s certainly worth the investment considering the potential consequences.