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Are Carcinogens Lurking in Your Home?

Home Carcinogens

Vehicle exhaust pipes, belching smokestacks, and smelly refineries – these all may come to mind when you think of pollution. However, the Environmental Protection Agency states indoor air pollution is often two to five times worse than outdoor air. Because of this, poor indoor air quality ranks among the top five environmental health risks.

It’s time to learn what carcinogens (cancer-causing pollutants) are lurking in your home so you can get rid of them once and for all.

Cigarette Smoke

Why It's Dangerous

Everyone knows first- and second-hand cigarette smoke is cancerous, but what about third-hand smoke? This is when cigarette smoke lingers in a building and makes it smell stale.

The lingering odor isn’t just unpleasant; it can also cause cancer. When you breathe second-hand smoke, you inhale about 100 nanograms of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs). With the addition of nitrous acid (a common indoor pollutant) found in third-hand smoke, you could breathe in several hundred nanograms of these carcinogens long after the last cigarette burned out.

How to Get Rid of It

  • Don’t smoke inside and don’t allow guests to smoke inside.
  • Avoid contact with cigarette smoke since nicotine residue can stick to your clothes and follow you inside.
  • Make sure gas appliances are vented properly since these are a main source of nitrous acid.


Why It's Dangerous

This volatile organic compound (VOC) is colorless, flammable at room temperature and has a pungent odor. It’s off-gassed from a wide variety of common items including building materials, paint, insulation, fabrics, cosmetics and paper products. Formaldehyde can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation and is also linked to lung cancer, leukemia and asthma.

How to Get Rid of It

  • Use particle board only if it’s laminated and choose exterior-grade pressed wood for remodeling.
  • Look for low- or no-VOC paints and stains.
  • Open windows and doors on nice days to ventilate the interior.
  • Wash permanent press clothing before wearing it for the first time.


Why It's Dangerous

When ozone is located high in the stratosphere, it protects the earth from harmful UV rays. However, ground-level ozone is the principle ingredient in smog, which causes respiratory problems, increases the chance of lung disease, and exacerbates existing respiratory conditions.

How to Get Rid of It

  • Steer clear of certain ozone-producing office equipment, such as laser printers and copiers.
  • Avoid electric air cleaners or ion generators that produce ozone as a by-product.


Why It's Dangerous

This well-known carcinogen is mostly found in older building materials such as vermiculite insulation, certain types of shingles, “popcorn” ceilings, and insulated pipes. Asbestos causes respiratory disease, lung cancer, and other forms of cancer. It most commonly enters the body through the respiratory system.

How to Get Rid of It

  • As long as they’re not disturbed, asbestos-containing building materials are quite harmless. If you’re seeking a home renovation or repair, call in the professionals to test for and remove asbestos if needed.

If you discover your home has high concentrations of carcinogens, or you think you might be exposed to asbestos, contact Rainbow Restoration® for professional cleaning services.

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