The Dangers Of Asbestos

Building material that contains asbestos poses serious and even deadly health risks. Microscopic fibers are released into the air when materials that contain asbestos are damaged or significantly. The inhalation of these fibers is what causes major respiratory problems because they can get trapped in the lungs. The effects of asbestos inhalation are usually not experienced immediately but continued exposure to the fibers is what promotes the development of health issues.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that directly affects the lining of the lungs, chest, and abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma is the most common disease that is associated with asbestos and for good reason. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos at some point but the problem is that most signs don’t develop until several years after exposure. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic coughing, and a buildup of fluids in the lung. Due to the fact that many of the symptoms can be associated with other conditions, diagnosis of mesothelioma is often too late and the results are fatal.

Asbestosis is another condition that is directly to prolonged asbestos exposure and it directly affects the lungs. Inhalation of asbestos fibers leads to lung scarring which can severely compromise the respiratory system. It usually affects people who are handle asbestos directly in production or removal. The first signs of asbestosis do not appear until many years after exposure and the initial symptom is a shortness of breath. Medications and oxygen therapy are used to relive the symptoms of asbestosis but currently there is no treatment. Advances asbestosis may lead to complete respiratory failure which can be fatal.

Lung cancer is the most common kind of cancer and is often associated with smoking but asbestos exposure significantly increases the risk of lung cancer. Like many other asbestos related medical issues, the development of lung cancer from asbestos may take years to manifest after exposure.

If you live in Maryland, Delaware, or Northern Virginia and suspect that you have asbestos containing materials in your home, contact us. We will perform thorough inspection and testing to determine if you need asbestos removal. Do not put your and your family’s health at risk with asbestos.

About Mold

Mold is a species of fungus that is found not only in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic but all over the United States and the entire world. A mold inspection should be at the top of your list if you are considering a house in Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware, or Virginia.

Mold can be found both outdoors and inside of homes and other enclosed structures. Mold thrives in conditions where a high level of warmth and humidity exists but it is a hearty species that can survive a range of temperatures. Mold is so common that most people are unknowingly exposed to it on a daily basis due to the fact that spores can be found on in the air and a variety of surfaces. Mold spores cannot be seen without magnification and problems can arise when people are exposed to large quantities of mold spores either by inhalation or ingestion.

Mold can make its way into a house through air conditioning, windows, doors, and it can even be brought indoors by sticking to articles of clothing when in the air. Mold is so hardy that it can grow on a variety of surfaces such as wood, carpeting, cardboard, wallpaper, tiles, and many other common surfaces found in the home. Mold growth is promoted in high moisture areas so they are mostly found inside in bathrooms and basements. Homes that have been flooded or have leaky pipes, roofs, or windows are at risk for mold infestation. Many people are familiar with black mold indoors but there are many other types of mold that pose health issues.

Exposure to mold spores can bring about a variety of symptoms especially in children, the elderly, people with respiratory conditions, and people who have compromised or weak immune systems. Some people have serious allergic reactions which include: eye irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, nasal congestion, and coughing. Mold can also agitate asthma symptoms in people who have asthma and recent studies have been shown that it may promote asthma development in children. Some people who are exposed may think that they are suffering from a common cold or allergy and never realize the root cause is mold.

If you have any leaks in your Maryland home you should consider a mold inspection. If your home was flooded and not professionally cleaned you should call us immediately for mold testing. Even if there aren’t any leaks or extensive water damage in your home, a professional home inspection for mold will give you a peace of mind. Contact us for prompt and professional service in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Radon Health Risks

In the past, there was some skepticism about the relation between lung cancer and radon. In 2005, two studies were conducted that confirmed radon exposure increases the chances of developing lung cancer. Radon was classified as an international health risk by the World Health Organization in 2009. One of the main reasons why radon is so deadly is due to its physical properties. Radon cannot be detected by smell, taste, or sight and it is produced naturally in soil by the decomposition of uranium. Radon is found all over the world in outdoor air as well as the air inside residential homes and commercial buildings.

Radon is classified as a carcinogen due to the fact that it is a form of radiation. Everyone is aware that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer but surprisingly, radon exposure is the second leading cause of cancer in America. It is estimated that over 20,000 people die from lung cancer that is directly related to radon exposure. Smokers that are exposed to radon have an even greater chance of developing lung cancer as the combined effects are very serious. According to the EPA, smokers that are exposed radon are ten times more likely to develop cancer than non smokers exposed to the same levels.

There really is no amount of exposure to radon that can be considered safe but the typical amount of radon that is present in American homes is approximately 1.3 pCi/L. The EPA strongly suggests that homeowners have a radon mitigation professional fix the home at levels of 4 pCi/L or greater. However, this does not mean a level of 3.9 pCi/L or even 3 pCi/L is acceptable. The EPA recommends that homeowners consider radon mitigation at any level above 2 pCi/L.

The EPA has constructed a map and separated the United States into three zones which signify the estimated levels of a radon present in homes. Zone 1 counties are estimated to have the highest level (4 pCi/L or above) radon present and Zone 3 counties are estimated to have levels less than 2 pCi/L. The map should be taken as a general guide because homes with high levels of radon can be found in every county across the US.

Termite Infestations

Termites are social insects that live collectively in colonies similar to ants and bees. Termites are found not only in Maryland, but every other state in America except for Alaska. Termite colonies can reach numbers of up to a few million which includes: soldiers, workers, nymphs, reproductive termites, and at least one queen. While they do play a major role in many ecological systems around the world due to natural recycling but most human interaction with termites aren’t positive due to their behavior, diet, and reproductive abilities. It is estimated that there are over 4,000 species of termites but only a fraction of those species are considered pests to humans. Termites usually enter homes seeking a water source and eventually end up establishing a colony.

Termite DamageTermites primarily rely on cellulose as their source of energy and they primarily get it from wood, plant fibers, animal feces, or soil. Most of the homes we live in provide an ample supply of cellulose for termites to thrive on. Termites can destroy wooden furniture, cloth, foundations, bookshelves, paper, and carpet.

Termite QueenColonies can reach numbers well into the millions and this is due to the fact that termites are voracious reproducers. Actually, it is the termite queen and the termite king that are some of the most reproductive species known. The king partners with the termite queen for life and she has the ability to lay up to 30,000 eggs per day (that’s 10 million eggs per year). That number is already staggering but it gets mind blowing when you consider that a queen can live for a half century. That means that a healthy queen can lay up 500 million eggs over the course of her life!

How Indoor Air Quality Affects You

You often hear about the dangers to our environment and health from outdoor pollutants such as carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, and sulfur but little is mentioned about the condition of the air inside our homes. Even in today’s fast paced society, we still spend a great a deal of time at our homes and poor indoor air quality can pose serious health risks over time. In fact, the air inside our homes can often be more contaminated than the outdoor air in some major cities. There are many common pollutants found inside homes that are can degrade indoor air quality. Contact us now for professional indoor air quality testing throughout Maryland, Delaware, and Washington D.C.

Unless you were born yesterday, you probably know that asbestos is extremely harmful. Although building materials haven’t contained asbestos fibers in nearly 40 years, there are still many homes that have not had asbestos containing materials removed. Asbestos in its natural and unsettled form is relatively harmless but it poses a concern wants the fibers are disturbed and enter the air. Prolonged asbestos exposure can lead to severe respiratory issues. Read more about asbestos.

Smoking has the potential to be lethal to the smoker but it also can be deadly those who live in the same residence. Tobacco smoke contains a plethora of harmful chemicals that can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and eventually death. Secondhand smoke around children is especially dangerous as it can lead to respiratory issues, pneumonia, and can cause asthma to develop.

The most dangerous thing about radon is the fact that it is radioactive, naturally occurring, colorless, and odorless. It is commonly found in soil all over the United States and infiltrates homes through cracks in the foundation and drains. It is not well publicized, but radon exposure kills over 20,000 people a year due to the development of lung cancer. In fact, the only thing that causes more cases of lung cancer in the US is smoking. Read more radon.

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