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Can My Older Home Actually Make Me Sick?

Older homes can be absolutely majestic. Fewer things are more beautiful than a glorious, Victorian home or a spectacular Antebellum. With beauty, there can also be a host of problems.

Lead Paint

Many older homes that were built before 1978 have lead paint. The risks of lead poisoning drastically increase with the age of your home. Lead can enter the body in a variety of ways. Just touching a surface that is painted with lead based paint can cause lead to enter your body.

As lead paint gets older and begins to deteriorate, it turns into dust and is distributed into the air. Children that get the leaded dust on their hand and put their fingers into their mouth can be seriously affected by lead poisoning. Young people that eat the actual chipped paint that contains lead are at a higher risk of poisoning.

Lead poisoning can cause a variety of symptoms. Constant headaches are the most common complaint. Young children may experience hearing loss, behavior problems and even brain damage. Adults can have problems such as high blood pressure, joint and muscle problems, infertility issues as well as stomach ailments and loss of memory.


Asbestos is a major issue and is everywhere in older homes that were built or remodeled before 1972. It was used for insulation, electric wiring, floor tiles, exterior shingles and many other things.

This is a highly toxic substance that can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Normally, people can live without problems in homes containing asbestos. Problems usually arise once the asbestos is disturbed. Most areas require a hazardous materials company to remove asbestos from older homes. This is done to insure the safety of the surrounding neighbors and environment.

Carbon Monoxide

Everybody knows that carbon monoxide can kill but many do not realize that older appliances can be the roof of the problem. Inefficient furnaces can emit high levels of carbon monoxide into the air you breathe in your home. Gas dryers and ranges can also spew it into the house.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, burning throat, sleepiness and unfortunately, all too often death. This can be avoided by having a carbon monoxide detector installed in your residence. Replacing older appliances and heating devices will also cut down on your risk of poisoning.

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