Here is a guest post from Brian with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Brian is a health advocate and blogger who has been researching and writing about health and safety concerns that one should consider while doing home renovations and DIY projects to help keep you and your family safe.
Renovating your home can be a complex task that may require extensive labor and expense. Homeowners engaged in these projects should pay particular attention to safety issues when working with tools and materials. Injuries frequently occur from unfamiliarity with power tools and hazardous materials.
Safety and Home Renovations
Before starting renovation, homeowners should make out a plan of the work to be done and the materials used. Many materials can cause hazards to eyes, skin or respiratory. Ensure that you know how to handle these hazardous substances and how to dispose of them safely.
Keep a good supply of safety equipment on hand and use it whenever you are engaged in renovation activity. Safety glasses protect eyes from debris and shards that might fly through the air. Work gloves should be heavy enough to protect hands but flexible enough to manipulate materials easily. Hard hats protect your head from falling debris that often occurs during renovation and home improvement projects. Protective clothing with long pants and long sleeves save skin from abrasions, minor cuts and burns. Earplugs should be used when operating power equipment. Sturdy work boots help protect feet from falling objects. Keep a first-aid kit on hand for minor injuries.
Air Quality Issues
Older buildings may contain a number of materials that can be hazardous, such as asbestos and lead paint. Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur in nature as bundles of fibers. In the past, it was used extensively in buildings as insulation, fireproofing, soundproofing, as roofing material and for strengthening cement and plastics. It was also used in floor and ceiling tiles and other materials. Renovation activities such as tearing out walls and ceilings can release asbestos fibers into the environment. These fibers can then be inhaled into the lungs or ingested into the digestive system. Asbestos has been linked with a number of respiratory conditions such as lung disorders, problems of the pleural lining, asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. These diseases can lead to serious disability or even death. Asbestos removal should be done only by qualified asbestos removal contractors.
Respiratory Protection Devices
Many types of respiratory protection devices are available at home improvement and safety supply stores. Basic nose and dust masks prevent larger particles from entering the airways. A full respirator type mask may be necessary for warm and humid environments. These devices should also be used when working with chemicals such as paints, stains, solvents and fiber insulation.
-Brian, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance