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Pregnant and working on your home?

How can a pregnant homeowner avoid remodeling hazards?

There are two points during a remodeling project that are critical times at which to consider the impact of potentially hazardous materials during pregnancy.

The first is during demolition, when materials are removed or disturbed, as some of the materials may have been manufactured with known toxins such as asbestos and lead.

The second is during the construction phase, when you should be aware of potentially harmful products used to manufacture building materials that will go in your home.

To stay safe, before beginning demolition, I recommend getting a hazmat inspection by a licensed inspector. This inspection will determine if there is asbestos in any materials that will be removed or disturbed.

For example, asbestos was used in old vinyl sheet flooring, in adhesives used for installing floor tile, in popcorn ceilings and in insulation around furnaces and ducts.

While the asbestos in these building materials is not a danger to health if left undisturbed, demolition or removal of the materials releases the asbestos into the air and becomes a health hazard.

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As most people are aware, paint manufactured before 1978 may contain lead, which could lead to lead poisoning if ingested.

Not so well known is that pre-1978 ceramic tile may also contain lead. When lead compounds are locked up in the paint or tile glazing, they are benign to human health.

However, crushing, abrading or shattering of a glaze and sanding or scraping of paint can release a fine dust in which the lead becomes a health risk.

So don’t think just because you’re not ingesting flaky paint chips that you’re safe from lead.

With demolition over, when you begin selecting products for the remodel, pay attention to products that may contain formaldehyde and/or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Both formaldehyde and VOCs can be found in a variety of building materials. Cabinets and shelving often are constructed from pressed-wood products that use glues that may contain formaldehyde.

In general, formaldehyde off-gassing sources emit less and less formaldehyde over time.

However, it can take weeks, and sometimes even months or years, to disappear completely.

Long-term exposure to moderate formaldehyde concentrations (at levels lower than those causing irritation) may be linked to respiratory symptoms and allergic sensitivity, especially in children.

Many contractors and building-material suppliers are aware of the importance of good indoor air quality and can guide you to products and practices that will provide a healthy environment for you and your family.

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One Response

  1. some floor tiles are made of polymers like polycarbonates and epoxy, i think they are much cheaper”*;

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