Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Getting Cancer In Our Homes

Most of us are blissfully unaware that we could be living with any number of toxic substances that can cause cancer and other insidious threats to our health. That beautiful new furniture or the freshly painted room could send dangerous chemicals into the air.

The Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a medical condition that causes a person to feel generally unwell or experience fatigue, headaches, or eye, nose and throat irritation. The symptoms become more severe the longer he or she stays in the building and are relieved or disappear when they leave it.

Here are some common household items that can cause sickness and cancer:

  • Ammonia based cleaning products can irritate mucus membranes and affects the respiratory system and eyes.
  • Carpet and rugs could emit volatile organic compound like formaldehyde and styrene and are breeding grounds for molds and dust mites.
  • Leaded paints can lead to lead poisoning, neurodevelopmental behavioral effects among children and will also cause hematological effects.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping, siding and flooring because toxic chemical stabilizers are added in the making of PVC. These leach, flake or outgas from the PVC overtime may lead to cancer. Dioxin a potent carcinogen is a by product in the manufacture of PVC.
  • Asbestos is found in many building materials like piping, lagging, ceiling and roof tiles, asbestos cement sheeting and duct insulation. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause cancer and fibrosis of the lung and mesothelioma - a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen according to London Hazards Center (LHC) .
  • Radon, a decay product of uranium is present in varying amounts in the soil water can slip into building foundation cracks and finally into the indoor space is associated with cancer and damages to the reproductive organs and fetus.



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