There are many types of chronic illness that are linked to environmental issues. Many of these environmental causes of illness can be prevented or eliminated with a little effort. The following are examples of illness causing environmental conditions and ways to avoid them.
Smoking and Secondhand Smoke
Smoking has been proven to cause respiratory problems such as asthma. In homes and building seconds hand smoke can be dangerous to inhabitants. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, secondhand smoke is a carcinogen that puts those exposed at risk for lung cancers, lymphoma, breast cancer and several other forms of cancer. Not only is secondhand smoke dangerous but research has also shown that third-hand smoke has negative effects on the health. Third-hand smoke is also dangerous because it leaves nicotine and other residual chemicals on furniture and other household surfaces. Like secondhand smoke, third hand smoke can cause respiratory problems and certain cancers.
The best way to avoid the dangers of secondhand smoke is to prohibit smoking in the home or workplace. Adults who smoke should never smoke where children are present. This means no smoking in cars, homes or other enclosed areas. The best solution is for smokers to take steps to quit. Quitting not only improves the health of the smoker but helps others stay healthy as well.
Careless Use of Pesticides
Like smoking, using pesticides in the home can lead to illness. Pesticides are chemical poisons designed to kill insects. The problem is that many people misapply pesticides, leaving themselves and others at risk for exposure. When pesticides are applied in areas of the home where there is inadequate ventilation, adults and children can inhale the harmful fumes which can irritate the lungs. This can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. Additionally, overexposure to pesticides can lead to organ damage and cause cancer. Pesticide residues put young children at risk when they touch surfaces and then touch their hands or mouths.
The best way to avoid exposure to pesticides is to deny pests entry, take away pests' shelter and food if they manage to get into the home. Deny entry by sealing cracks and other openings where pests can get into a dwelling. If they happen to get in, make sure there is not food, water and shelter which encourage pests to stay and breed. Clean up food spills and residue promptly. Remove any clutter or items that allow pests to hide. If these strategies don't work, contact a licensed pest control professional for assistance. He or she will apply EPA-approved chemicals that will get rid of pest problems without unnecessary exposure.
Water leaks and sewer leaks can cause standing water in crawl spaces and basements. This persistent moisture can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria, both of which can cause illness. A specialist from Kamloops Septic Service says the best way to prevent health issues caused by mold and standing water is to locate the source of the moisture, have it repaired immediately, and expose it to light and airflow. This will encourage drying, eliminating many environmental contaminants with the reduction of the water levels. After the problem is resolved, remediation or cleaning can be done.
Addressing harmful environmental conditions can eliminate the risk for chronic health problems. The key is to determine what might be causing the issues and get rid of the source.