|Volume 16, Issue 1|
|Lead in your home: a slow poison|
Lead is a proven health hazard. Unless otherwise “deleaded,” most older homes and buildings constructed prior to 1978 are likely to contain lead paint, which is the most common form of lead found in homes. Fortunately, home sellers and landlords are now required to disclose any “known information” on lead in the home.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, 2006), lead paint can enter the body simply through breathing in its dust. It can be particularly dangerous to children under age six because they are developing mentally and physically at a rapid pace. However, lead is also a danger to adults. The effects of exposure to lead may be as minor as concentration and memory problems, or as severe as nerve disorders or reproductive difficulties.
To protect your family’s health, have your home tested for lead paint, especially if it was built before 1978. If lead paint is detected, do not try to remove it yourself. Improper removal can create a more dangerous environment. Also, talk to your doctor or your local health department to see if you or your child should be tested for lead. Finally, be sure to familiarize yourself with the following information:
By maintaining your awareness of these concerns and adopting a proactive attitude toward minimizing exposure, you can help reduce the potential risk to your family’s health associated with lead poisoning. For more information on how to protect your family from lead exposure, or what to do if you have been exposed, contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.
|Guarding against dangerous gases|
|You can’t see them, you can’t taste you can’t see them, you can’t taste Y them, you can’t even smell them, them, you can’t even smell them, but they may be in your home. Both but they may be in your home. Both carbon monoxide carbon monoxide and radon can be a danger to you and your family. Similar to lead, carbon monoxide and radon enter the bloodstream through breathing, and high levels of ingestion can cause serious health problems.|
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas produced by items commonly found in homes. Gas stoves, furnaces, water heaters, chimneys, and space heaters—items that burn fuel—produce CO. If your home is not ventilated properly, or if these items are not properly maintained, you and your family maybe exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of the fl u or even the common cold, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and chest pain. Because these symptoms are present in many common illnesses, it may be difficult to suspect exposure to CO poisoning. If left untreated, CO poisoning may lead to permanent damage to organs such as the heart, and overexposure may be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2007) reports that over 500 people per year in the United States are fatal victims of “unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.”
If you have not already done so, consider contacting your local utility companies to inspect any equipment you suspect may be faulty or that might contribute to the air quality of your home. The following steps can help minimize exposure to CO poisoning:
Another deadly gas that may be lurking in your home is radon. Like carbon monoxide, radon is invisible to the eye and undetectable by smell or taste. According to the American Lung Association (ALA, 2007), it is a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking, and it is responsible for 21,000 deaths from lung cancer annually.
Radon gas is produced as uranium decays, and it is prevalent in soil and rock, which decay underground. Any building below three stories should be tested for radon. The following are a few facts to help you better understand radon and how it can affect you and your home:
If you are wondering whether or not radon may be present in your home, you can test for it yourself by purchasing either a short-term test kit or a long-term test kit that remains in your home for more than 90 days. When you purchase a test kit, you will want to check that it has been cleared through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help ensure accurate results.
|Education = Protection|
|Fighting a danger you may not even know is in your home is a frustrating battle. Educating yourself and your family can help you win. For more information about carbon monoxide and radon, visit the Environmental Protection Agency at www.epa.gov or the American Lung Association at www.lungusa.org.|
|Your personal checklist|
|Just as your health needs an annual checkup, so does your insurance program. Although you may be unaware of it, your financial profile has probably changed over the past year. Therefore, you may need to adjust your insurance coverage. Please take the time to complete this checklist and mail it back to us in the enclosed envelope. Or, if you prefer to discuss your insurance needs in person, please call to schedule an appointment.|
|Copyright © 2008 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. The content of this newsletter is taken from sources that are believed to be reliable. However, this newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal, fi nancial, or professional counsel.|