Even with the arrival of great summer weather, we still spend a lot of time indoors. That’s why it’s always the season to make sure our homes are safe and healthy, says Dr. Alain Petit, the JGH’s Health and Safety Consultant.
When buying chemicals for household use—for example, cleansers, polishes, paint thinners and glass cleaners—be sure to read the label carefully for instructions on use, storage and disposal. These items can be extremely dangerous: they can cause burns and fires, and they can often be poisonous.
The label can tell you whether the hazard lies in the container, its contents, or both. If there’s a triangular warning label, the container itself is dangerous—for example, it might be explosive under certain conditions. If the label is eight-sided, the product within should be handled with care.
Making your home as dust-free as possible also contibutes to healthy lungs while reducing your risk of developing allergies. Dr. Petit recommends a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter. Otherwise, the air that’s released from the vacuum cleaner might contain dust particles.
And don’t overlook proper ventilation. Let fresh air into your home regularly, be sure the exhaust fan above your stove vents to the outside, and open your windows when installing new carpets, painting or varnishing.
For more about these or other environmental health risks, visit the Government of Canada’s site, Hazards in Your Home .