We want to think of our homes -- whether they're castles or studio apartments -- as our safe havens, a place where we can relax and simply unwind from the pressures of the outside world. But in reality, homeowners need to be vigilant about the potential dangers that can be present inside our own four walls.
These dangers can be readily apparent, such as automotive products stored in the garage or basement, pesticides in a shed, prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet, or cleaning agents kept under the sink. Some can be much more difficult to track down, such as radon gas, freon, carbon monoxide, mold and water-borne chemicals. Still others can even be waiting for us as we first move in -- things like lead paint, lead pipes and asbestos.
More importantly, those threats can be even more menacing for those who are least prepared to deal with them: newborns, toddlers, the elderly and the infirm. And despite the fact that we live in the information age, the number of incidents of poisoning with serious outcomes increased almost 5 percent from 2009 to 2010, says the American Association of Poison Control Centers [source: AAPCC]. The AAPCC reports that the poison control centers receive a call every eight seconds.
On the positive side of the ledger, there's plenty of solid information available on how to not only know what the dangers are, but how to track them down and how to eradicate them from your home.
How do you find an invisible killer?