Of course, the majority of homes do not contain any of these hazards. However, dangerous chemicals and materials are sometimes hidden in houses and buildings – here are some to be aware of while you are searching for your new home.
Asbestos: this once popular building material has not been used in construction since the 1980’s, however it can still be found in some older homes. If asbestos materials are disturbed the fibres can become airborne, and once inhaled can lead to serious, long-term health issues. This is usually only a problem if the house is renovated, and the materials are disturbed. In Australia, most houses built before 1985 and some built before 1990 contain asbestos, but are completely save to inhabitants as long as it is not disturbed.
Therefore if you purchase a house built before 1990 take precautions before having any renovation work done.
Radon: Radon is a colourless, odourless gas which can cause cancer in high levels. There is some concern that radon can enter house from the ground, especially through basements or cellars. However, Government authorities advise that the average level of radon in Australian homes is little more than in the general environment.
Lead: lead is a toxic metal which can lead to health problems and has been historically used in home products. The main sources of concern are lead-based paint or lead pipes which are deteriorating or disturbed during renovations.
Other hazardous materials: other hazardous items and products which may have been stored in homes include paint, solvents, petrol, pesticides, and fertilizers. These could be dangerous if not stored properly. Risks include poisoning on ingestion, toxic fumes, and fire hazards.