Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chemical Contaminants In Your Home

Volatile organic compounds (VOC) Used in construction, furnishing, curtains and carpets. Released in the air from burning fuel (gasoline, wood, coal), solvents, paints, glues and other products commonly used and stored in homes and offices. People exposed to formaldehyde suffer irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; higher levels of exposure result in drowsiness, loss of memory, sneezing and skin rashes. It increases the risk of several types of cancer, and causes poor sleep, impaired memory, poor concentration and nausea.

Methylene chloride is a suspected carcinogen. Exposure to methylene chloride has resulted in fatal heart attacks in people with heart conditions, according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Exposure to toluene causes headaches, nausea and central nervous system depression. Benzene is a known carcinogen. Cresol is corrosive to tissue, damages the liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and spleen.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is used in piping, sliding, flooring, roof membranes, wall coverings, carpet backing, furniture, window and door frames, shades and blinds, moldings, among others. Several toxic chemical stabilizers such as lead, cadmium and phthalate plasticizers and added in the manufacture of PVC. These chemicals leach, flake or outgas from the PVC over time, causing problems that include asthma, lead poisoning and cancer. Xylene and perchloroethylene are other substances that cause injury.



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