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Home Environmental Hazards

by Guest
Posted July 26 2010 09:43pm
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Part of being a positive parent is providing a healthy and safe area for your child to grow.

All parents want their home to be safe, especially once a pregnancy occurs or there are children in the home. Part of being a positive parent is providing a healthy and safe area for your child to grow.

Pregnant woman, babies and young children can be exposed to harmful substances through the air they breathe (i.e. cigarette smoke, indoor air pollution), the food or drinks they eat (pesticides in food or lead from water pipes), or the things they touch (cleaning products). Babies and young children are more susceptible to exposures and hazards because:

  • The systems in their body are still developing. Their skin is thinner and more porous and their airways are smaller and more sensitive to air pollutants and their brain is still developing.
  • They do not have the cognitive skills needed to recognize unsafe items.
  • They put toys or objects in their mouth, play on the floor or grass.
  • They eat, drink and breathe more than adults.

Use this as a guide when doing a safety check of your home.


Keep the following things in mind when you do a walk-through around your garage and attic. Make note of any potential hazards you see.

  • Things like car battery cases, motor oil containers and even garbage bags and luggage may contain hazardous plastics and solvents. Get rid of any old ones you don't need and store the ones you keep locked and away from children.
  • Paints, paint strippers and thinners and varnish may contain Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) solvents that contribute to poor indoor air quality. Get rid of any you don't need and store the rest carefully out of reach.
  • If there is mould or asbestos, expectant moms, babies and young children should stay out of these areas as much as possible until the problem is dealt with.


  • Contaminated soil and dust may contain lead. Replace contaminated soil and try to limit wearing shoes worn outdoors inside your home.
  • Fumigation materials, aerial spraying and house and yard treatment products may contain pesticides. Store house and yard treatment products in a locked place and do not use them where children may play.
  • Personal insect repellent and pet flea products may contain pesticides. Limit your use of these products or use alternatives to flea products.


Old shingles and siding may contain asbestos. Make sure you dispose of them if you can.

Textured paints may contain asbestos; so avoid their use if possible.


The basement may have a home workshop or can become a catch-all area for items that you meant to get rid of, but there they sit – a potential danger for your baby.

The list could include:

  • Adhesives and glues
  • Disinfectants
  • Motor oil containers
  • Old furnaces and asbestos pipe insulation
  • Paints, paint strippers and thinners and varnish

Pregnant woman should limit their exposure to these items. Adhesives, glues, disinfectants, paints, paint strippers, thinners and varnish should be used in well ventilated areas. Again, make sure you get rid of any of these items you don't need. And get asbestos problems fixed now if you can.


Are there really dangerous hazards lurking on your bathroom? Check the list below. We all have some or all of these things in our bathroom. Get rid of any you don't use and make sure everything else is secure behind doors.

  • Artificial fragrances contribute to poor air quality in homes and may irritate baby’s sensitive airways. Cosmetics may contain chemicals that are harmful to children if they are swallowed.
  • Bathroom cleaning products, disinfectants and aerosol sprays.
  • Garbage bags contain plastic and can pose a suffocation hazard with young children.
  • Hair dryers create electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and could pose a burn or electrocution hazard when used by a young child.


  • Artificial fragrances may contain harmful chemicals common to cleaning products.
  • Cosmetics, hairsprays, hair dyes and cosmetics such as nail polish and remover should only be used sparingly, if at all. They may contain VOC solvents.
  • Televisions, electric blankets, electric beds, electric heaters, computers and monitors, game boxes, video display terminals, cell phones and cordless phones generate electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Try to avoid placing these near where you or your child sleeps.
  • Dry cleaned clothing may contain VOC solvents that can irritate a child’s sensitive airways.
  • Electric blankets, electric beds and electric heaters produce EMFs.
  • Floor and furniture polishes may contain harmful chemicals common to cleaning products. Limit their use or switch to eco-friendly products

Again, try to reduce the amount of plastics be that in: containers, bottles, jars, jugs, cutlery or garbage bags. And also less cleaning and polishing products is better!


  • Kitchen cleaning products, disinfectants, floor cleaners and aerosol sprays may contain volatile organic compound (VOC) solvents. Store these out of the use of the reach of children. When using these products ventilate the rooms well.
  • Garbage bags may contain hazardous plastics such as low density polyethylene (LDPE) and can pose a suffocation hazard for young children.
  • Imported lead soldered food cans or ceramic pottery may contain lead; try to limit your use of imported products.
  • Plastic bottles and plastic storage containers may contain unsafe types of plastic (polyvinyl chloride, polystryrene and polycarbonate). Safe plastic containers can be identified with a triangular symbol that includes either of the following numbers 1, 2, 4 or 5. Avoid containers with numbers 3, 6 and 7.
  • Older homes may contain vinyl flooring and tiles, and pipe insulation that may contain asbestos.
  • Older homes or apartments may contain lead plumbing. Run water taps for several minutes if the taps have not been used for a number of hours. Use cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby food.
  • Produce, especially fruits and vegetables, may contain pesticides. Consider using organic fruits and vegetables and always wash well before using.
  • Tap water, if plumbing or fixtures contain lead.

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