Unsafe Housing – Are Homes Putting You At Risk?

Written by on December 2, 2020 in Environmental Hazards with 0 Comments

According to a survey by the NSC, 7 in 10 Americans feel safest at home. In reality, the NSC reveals that 75% of preventable incidents are prone to happen at the heart of our supposedly safe homes. What’s even more worrying is that a whopping 40% of individuals have suffered preventable death at home.

This begs an important question: What is unsafe housing? The majority of individuals tend to describe a crumbling property with visible signs of damage and wear and tear when they think about unsafe housing. But in reality, your cozy home with its elegant interior style and comfortable couch could be just as unsafe, even though you can’t see the risks.

Greediness makes for unsafe housing

Stay safe; stay at home.

The coronavirus pandemic has made the home a place of safety. Globally, there’s been a common approach to managing and reducing covid risks by encouraging people to stay home. So, it can seem odd that the United States has not tried to manage the eviction crisis in the middle of a pandemic. Failure to ban evictions across the country has led to over 433,000 preventable COVID-19 cases and over 10,700 deaths. Why would landlords choose to remove vulnerable tenants when stable housing would have saved many lives nationwide? The answer, unfortunately, is measurable in rent money. It so happened that over 10,700 lives during the study periods were not worth, in the eyes of their landlords, the cost of the monthly rent. Stable and safe housing begins with the realization from landlords that the leniency in this unique global crisis is a matter of life and death.

Invisible radiations at home

What does a typical evening look like? If you’re likely to spend it watching your favorite show on Netflix while heating your dinner in the microwave, you may want to read about EMF radiation risks. Electromagnetic radiations can be both of electric and magnetic nature. Unfortunately, most people assume that high energy radiations, such as UV rays or even x-rays, are the electromagnetic waves that present a risk to the human body. In fact, it is foolish to assume that low frequency and energy radiation, such as the one emitted by your microwave or your TV, is safe. According to a study, it’s been linked to miscarriages and even a type of brain cancer. The bottom line: Your home could receive and produce possibly carcinogenic signals.

City life is too loud

City life and pollution are a match made in hell. Yet, pollution doesn’t only relate to car fumes. Traffic sounds can reach over 60 decibels, even if you live far above the ground. Manhattan inhabitants who like in the high-rise buildings along Interstate 95 have recorded noise levels around 66 decibels on the 8th floor. For comparison, that’s like having a vacuum cleaner always running inside your home.

What’s the effects of noise pollution?. For children, it can affect the way they learn a language, including their native tongue. For adults, the consequences can lead to increased anxiety, depression and even contribute to heart disease. Life at home is not just a little loud. The noise is literally killing you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Dirty indoor air

Even if you keep a strict chore schedule, your home is unlikely to be as sparkling clean as it looks. But, you say, I don’t see any dirt. Granted, to the naked eye, your interior is clean. But try measuring the levels of indoor air pollution before making any assumptions. Indoor pollution can combine a variety of particles and substances: particulate matter. Particulate matter could be dust, fungi, bacteria, smoke, etc. You don’t see any of it, as the larger particles measure less than 10 micrometers in diameters. These are safely caught by your nose hair, causing sinus discomfort and allergies. According to the WHO, the smaller ones can reach your lungs, leading to 5% of all lung cancer deaths.

Synthetic materials

What are the most common synthetic textiles inside your home?

Acrylic, viscose, and polyester are some of the prevalent fabrics you can find in your cushion covers, throws, rugs, curtains, etc. Artificial fabrics can be harmful to your health, leading to allergic reactions, respiratory distress, and even headaches.

But synthetic materials can go a lot further than throwing a viscose cushion cover on your couch. Your beloved furniture could contain formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen that is invisible to the naked eye. It is typically found in plastic, plywood, fiberboard, and particle boards. Because it tends to be used as an adhesive, you’re likely to have it in most modern furniture units. At room temperature, formaldehyde becomes a gas. According to the Healthy House Institute, it can take up to 10 years to out-gas formaldehyde, which means that your furniture could be releasing harmful substances for up to a decade.

Your smart home shares all your secrets

The home sweet home can be managed from your smartphone. With a click, you can turn the heating up or light up the bedroom. Smart homes are not just a tech trend. They also help individuals with reduced mobility to maintain their life comfort, and independence. As such, smart tech has become a convenient choice to keep control of your interior. Many homeowners even believe that their devices make the home safer.

However, according to recent computer studies, your smart home provides many points of entry for hackers. Imagine that you’ve programmed your heating or light bulbs to turn on when you arrive home. If a hacker can access your settings, they can figure out when you are at home and gain control over your security system. Smart devices have been found easy to hack, which makes your home more vulnerable to burglary.

Vitamin D deficiency indoors

Our modern lifestyle contributes to sedentary habits. Most people didn’t need to be told to stay at home during the pandemic because they’d been staying at home already! Unfortunately, indoor living reduces your exposure to direct sunlight, which in turn causes vitamin D deficiency.

However, sitting behind glass windows doesn’t mean you are safe from harmful UV rays. Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to UVB rays. However, most glass windows block UVBs from entering your home. What they fail to block, though, are UVA rays, which are associated with skin cancer.

Poor insulation

Over 50% of American houses are poorly insulated. Many use fiberglass batts, whose fibers are a lung irritant. More to the point, fiberglass batt doesn’t meet insulation standards, providing a low performance. While fiberglass batt is a suitable alternative for formaldehyde, not every builder understands how to install it properly. The bottom line: New homes are likely to have significant air leakages as a result. Homeowners are, therefore, more likely to have high energy costs and put their immune systems at risk. An overheated property can lead to respiratory discomfort. On the other hand, air leakage can increase moisture levels and lead to mold formation and allergies.

374,000 homes catch fire every year

According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year, 2,600 lives are lost in a house fire. Cooking is responsible for 40% of all house fires, highlighting the role of working smoke detectors in the home. Additionally, heaters, electrical or fuel-based, are likely to increase the risk of fire in winter, especially if your home contains highly inflammable materials.

How safe are we at home?

The answer is that you’re never as safe as you think. Whether you could lose your shelter to a landlord’s greediness in the middle of a pandemic or accidentally start a fire by leaving the oven unattended, our modern technology has not resolved the unsafe housing problem in America.

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