Contaminants in and around the home FAQ

Contaminants in and around the home FAQ

1. What are common sources of household exposure?

Chemical contaminants in the home can come from household items, building materials, or can be tracked in by people or pets. Some common sources include paint, pipes, flooring, furniture, electronics, food, water, pesticides, nearby soils, or from occupational exposures.

2. What can I do to limit my exposure?

For some contaminants there are simple actions that can be taken to limit your exposure and health risks. These include keeping surfaces clean and washing your hands frequently – household dust can contain various contaminants, so by keeping down dust, you can help limit exposure, especially for children.

Just note that cleaning and hand washing can help limit exposure, but they cannot eliminate the risk entirely. Removing health hazards like lead paint and asbestos will be more helpful in the long run, but this type of remediation must be done by trained and certified professionals. If done wrong, remediation can actually increase exposure.

Also, bigger changes like remediating lead-based paint or choosing less toxic flooring options are easier to go about if you have the financial resources and especially if you own your home. Renters and low-income homeowners are less equipped and empowered to remediate household contaminant hazards.