Although older homes have a distinct rustic charm to them, they’re not without their drawbacks. They tend to be inefficient when it comes to utilities, and the need for regular maintenance is huge compared to modern homes. More importantly though, living in an older home can often be bad for your health. Here are three common health hazards that are found in older homes.
Source: Max Pixel
It may not be the most serious health hazard you can find in a home, but mold is still worth paying attention to all the same. Damp, indoor surfaces, such as walls, carpets and hard floors, provide ideal conditions for mold spores to settle and begin to spread. These are invisible to the naked eye, but float on the air around us wherever the conditions are right. Any building is at some risk of developing mold, but older homes, particularly in humid areas, are much more prone to it as they tend to have poorer sealing, and fail to keep out condensation. Enough mold has the potential to cause respiratory issues, and will aggravate asthma. Allergic reactions to it are also fairly common. If you find any mold in your home, try to get rid of whatever moisture source is causing it. You can read more at Removemoldguide.com.
Mold can be the source of some serious health issues, but they’re all fairly benign compared to the damage asbestos can do. Asbestos is a subsection of natural minerals. Due to its strength and fire-proof properties, it has been used in countless construction projects over the past century, as a reagent of roof shingles, insulation, concrete, and various other products. Though it’s now banned as a construction material, there are still many buildings in the developed world which contain asbestos. The material is only a threat if it becomes loose, and the invisible fibers enter the air. If these are breathed in, they can become lodged in the lungs, scarring the tissues, and increasing the risk of cancers like mesothelioma, especially in a person who smokes. You can read more about his at Mesotheliomahelp.org. If you don’t know when your home was last swept for asbestos, or you’re considering buying an older house, it’s worth hiring a qualified inspector for a risk assessment.
This is another toxic material that was commonly used in buildings for decades. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any American home built before 1978 has a fair chance of having some lead-based paint in it. In its solid form, lead paint is fairly harmless unless ingested, and in many cases the interior paint would have been coated over many times with latex-based paint. The biggest risk is exterior paint flaking off over time and falling into the garden, where it may be ingested by pets or young children. They can also get into vegetable patches and contaminate the food growing there. If your exterior siding has lead-based paint on it, it’s generally a good idea to remove it completely.