Risks to know BEFORE you Renovate - by Alex Johnson

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Risks to know before you Renovate

Supplied by Alex Johnson - ajohnson3155@gmail.com

Home renovation can be an exciting process. We get to open up rooms, replace inefficient windows and clean out pry off rotten siding. However, renovating an older home can also bring some challenges. Electrical wiring and structural integrity might need to be addressed, especially in Northern climates. However, other serious concerns less related to aesthetic or structural concerns need to be addressed. Because older homes were not subject to current codes and building restrictions, many precautions should be taken before you start to knock down walls and dig through layers of flooring.

Chemical precautions, specifically, are important. Because they’re hard to spot, many families fail to take the necessary defenses against such chemicals. One dangerous chemical is lead. Since 1991, the United States has identified it as a huge health risk to children because older paints were laced with it and because it is easily absorbed into growing bodies. Plus, young children carry a greater risk of ingesting the flaked paint. Thankfully, because the dangers are now so widely known, many families have replaced the toxic paint in their homes.

However, lead was also used in lots of other products before it was known how dangerous it was. Lead used to be in several other products, like gasoline and pipes. Therefore, there are plenty of ways people, especially children, can get exposed to this chemical. In addition to chipping paint, lead exposure can occur through the air, in the form of lead dust, in drinking water, in food or even in contaminated soil.

Another common chemical in older homes is asbestos. This natural mineral was popular in the 20th century for construction. However, it also poses huge risks if you become exposed. Once popular as an insulation because of its fireproof qualities, heat resistance, chemical endurance and electrical insulation, this material has since proven toxic. It poses a serious cancer threat when broken, jagged or shredded, which allows it to be released into the air and breathed into the lungs.

This chemical has also received a lot of attention because of its dangerous nature. However, its regularity in past construction makes it an ongoing problem, especially as older homes are remodeled and the aged mineral is exposed. Mesothelioma, the name of this disease, is a cancer that results from exposure to this chemical. If exposed, there are four different types of this disease, with the most common developing in the lining of your lungs. The worst part about mesothelioma symptoms is that they usually don’t show up until 20 to 50 years after your first exposure to asbestos.

Hidden chemicals can cause serious health concerns, so home remodeling needs to be taken seriously. Renovation might actually disturb these chemicals that were previously enclosed. In addition, undertaking such home projects demands the ability to recognize these chemicals. Asbestos may appear in several forms, including a solid one, a form resembling insulation or even as dust. Lead can also take the form of dust, making it easier to become introduced into the body. For these reasons, it’s important to research, know exactly what you’re up against and admit when finishing that basement or putting on an addition alone just isn’t worth the risk.

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