How To Avoid Health Risk When Buying A Home

By Subodh / March 19, 2013

Buying a home is a big decision. You want everything to be perfect. While some problems can easily be avoided, many buyers don’t consider common hidden dangers. Before you buy, check for these hidden hazards that can put your health at risk and leave you stuck with a home you cannot sell.

Air Pollution

Air pollution causes respiratory problems like asthma and lung cancer. In addition, breathing polluted air may also increase incidences of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Diesel exhaust can increase the chances of coming down with lung cancer, asthma and headaches. Before you buy a home, use the government’s air quality ratings website to check air quality in the area. Remember that air quality in temperate regions is usually better in winter and worse in summer.

Toxic Mold

Buying a home filled with mold spores can cause many health problems. Exposure to mold affects people in three ways: allergic symptoms, toxic symptoms or infections. Allergic symptoms include stuffy nose, headaches and hair loss. The body will never adjust to mold. With continued exposure to mold, allergic symptoms will get worse. Sixteen forms of mold are toxic to the body. Toxic symptoms include internal bleeding, damage to organs and cancer. In some cases, mold spores begin to grow inside the lungs, digestive system or sinuses. This creates infections.

Health Risk When Buying A Home

Mold grows in dark, warm and moist places. Mold often attaches to drywall. Leaks in plumbing, poor ventilation and humid environments cause mold to grow. Home inspectors are typically vigilant about looking for signs of mold. Make sure you use a reputable company for your inspection.

Chemical Fertilizers

Exposure to chemical fertilizers has been shown to dramatically increase rates of cancer. In fact, one study showed that exposure to lawn chemicals and fertilizers has increased rates of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If you are considering moving next to a golf course or farm, check to see what kind of chemicals they use on their land. Check cancer support websites for listings of cancer clusters near the home.

Asbestos

Asbestos was once commonly used in manufacturing and construction. The fibrous material is harmful to humans only when released into the air. In many homes, asbestos is fully contained.

Exposure to asbestos causes many respiratory problems, including mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and often fatal form of lung cancer. Be sure to check ask your home inspector if he or she found any evidence of asbestos used in building your home and the level of danger the material may cause your family.

Shoddy Electrical Work

One of the leading causes of fire is shoddy electrical work. Electrical work performed by an unlicensed person tends to be dangerous. When you are viewing a home, check electric fixtures and outlets for signs of anything added post construction. Look at the electrical panel. Does it look organized and neat? If the panel looks sloppy, it is a good sign that electrical work was done by someone not licensed to do so. Talk with your home inspector about the quality of the electrical work in any home you are thinking about purchasing.

Buying a home is a big decision. Many home buyers overlook these hazards when viewing a home. Hire a competent home inspection company. Take time to look for these and other hazards.