Potential Hidden Exposure Hazards Found in DIY Home Improvement Projects
The building science and indoor environmental quality professionals at Clark Seif Clark provide testing services to identify mold, lead, asbestos and other possible exposure risks commonly encountered during home improvement and renovation projects.
Chatsworth, CA -- With the COVID-19 pandemic causing millions of people to be stuck at home for much of 2020, do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects have become increasingly popular. Unfortunately, depending on the type of project, and the age and condition of the home, many DIYers may come into contact with hidden exposure risks.
In addition to building code compliance issues, laws, permit requirements, ladders, sharp tools, and electrical and gas hazards, DIY projects could expose unsuspecting people to a number of fairly common hazards. For example, many homes still have asbestos-containing materials. Exposure to asbestos is known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Lead-based paints are another issue. Homes built before 1960 can contain heavily leaded paint and some homes built as recently as 1978 also contain lead-based paint. These paints were used for decades and exposure to lead dust can lead to serious health concerns, especially for children.
Many new materials and finishes used in projects could also expose families to elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde in some cases. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to some VOCs may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
“Lead was banned for use in residential settings in 1978. Asbestos was never banned and is still used in some materials to this day, although asbestos in products before 1980 is very common. Another very common unexpected surprise someone taking on a DIY project may encounter is water damage and mold growth under floors, in a wall or behind cabinets,” said Derrick A. Denis, Vice President of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) for Clark Seif Clark. “Mold is easily aerosolized and just like asbestos or lead-based paints, needs to be handled properly. The source of the moisture also has to be identified correctly and addressed or the mold and other water damages will simple come back. Exposure to elevated levels of mold can act as a respiratory irritant, allergen and an asthma trigger. Some types of mold can even cause infections in people with a weakened or suppressed immune system.”
To help protect DIYers and all building occupants, the IEQ professionals at Clark Seif Clark provide air, surface and material testing, monitoring and consulting services for renovation and construction projects in residential homes, schools, commercial buildings and institutional properties. CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about DIY home improvement projects and potential hidden dangers that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/N1ZiWkH1SUk
To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, building science, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.csceng.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 807-1118.
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.