Home Health Tips Taking care of your health starts at home: Addressing radon, lead and mold – BurlingtonFreePress.com

Taking care of your health starts at home: Addressing radon, lead and mold – BurlingtonFreePress.com

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Staying health-conscious might involve changing your diet, exercise routine and sleeping patterns. But you should probably start thinking about the health of your home, too. 

Dangerous gases, toxins and clutter can all weigh down the health of your house, according to the Vermont Department of Health. Making sure your home is dry to avoid mold growth; pest-free; well-ventilated; and not full of harmful gases like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke are all important steps in the home-health process. 

Check out some of the different issues that could appear in your home and how to avoid them from infringing on your day-to-day. 

1. Lead

How it shows up: People can be exposed to lead when doors and windows are opened and closed in homes (pre-1978) painted with lead-based products. The paint can weather into dust, posing risks to children, adults and pregnant women if inhaled or transferred from hands to mouth. 

How to address it: You can reach out to:

  • The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board’s Lead-Based Paint Program for assistance at (802) 828-5064 or (800) 290-0527.
  • You can also email the above resource at leaduser@vhcb.org.
  • You can try the Burlington Lead Program (if you reside in Winooski or Burlington) at (802) 865-LEAD (5323).

2. Mold

How it shows up: The Green Mountain State’s humidity can make your home a friendly place for mold. Leaky roofs and foods in your home alike can contribute to mold’s presence. Mold doesn’t impact everyone, but for some it can contribute to chest tightness, throat irritation, runny noses and headaches. 

Individuals with health complications like chronic lung illnesses and asthma might experience more issues associated with mold. 

How to address it: You have a couple different options when addressing mold in your house. These include:

  • Reaching out to a contractor for mold problems exceeding 100 square feet (anything less than 10 square feet does not usually warrant the use of a contractor; you can decide what to do with areas between 10 and 100 square feet). 
  • Speaking with your landlord to address the issue.
  • Talking with your town health officer, which you can find on the Health Department’s website. 

3. Radon

How it shows up: You might be the Vermonter who gets the honor of living with radon: It’s a one-in-seven chance. It comes into its own when uranium decays and can accumulate in your house. The soil under your house, your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) system and your house’s structure can also make it susceptible to radon. 

Lung cancer is a major concern for people exposed to radon. 

How to address it: You can test for the substance by:

  • Getting a free kit from the Radon Program. Email at radon@vermont.gov or call (800) 439-8550. The Health Department encourages people to do longer-term testing (three to 12 months). 
  • Reaching out to the Health Department to buy test kits (short, medium and long-term). Contact the lab by calling (802) 338-4736 or (800) 660-9997.
  • Filling out an Environmental Testing and Drinking Water Testing Order Form to asla kit on the health department’s website. 

The health department also offers tips and techniques involving non-toxic products for people trying to stay green and clean.

Contact Maleeha Syed at mzsyed@freepressmedia.com or 802-495-6595. Follow her on Twitter @MaleehaSyed89. 

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