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Environmental Issues...Radon, Mold and Lead in the Home


Part of the job of a home inspector is to make you aware of  hazards that may exist in the home.  There are several hazards of particular concern.


Radon Gas

  
   Many areas have high levels of radon in the soil.  Radon is odorless, colorless, and a known carcinogen.  It naturally diffuses from areas of higher concentration to areas of lower concentration, such as a basement or unprotected crawlspace.  ALL homes in New York State should be tested for radon. 

Mold Growth

  
  
Mold is a fungi, by definition.  Opportunistic and invasive, it is capable of breaking down everything from wood to drywall to ceiling tiles.  Mold needs a source of moisture in order to grow and flourish, and it is capable of growing almost anywhere.

   If you notice an apparent mold growth in your home, it should be tested by a qualified professional since some molds are toxic to humans, most notably BLACK MOLD.  People who have allergies are particularly susceptible to reactions due to mold in the home, especially children.  Don't discount the health implications of mold-related illnesses and allergies...have your home tested.

Lead Paint

  
   While lead is of lesser concern today as opposed to 40 years ago, it is still a major concern in places with a concentration of older homes. 
  
   Many of these homes have paint containing lead, because lead was an inexpensive way for a paint manufacturer to add durability and vividness of color to the paint they offered.  Lead was used in both interior and exterior paints up until the 70's, and lead-based paint can still be found in many homes today.

   It is most dangerous when scraped, sanded or ingested directly.  For this reason, if you're buying a home that was built or renovated before the 1980's, I would suggest having your home tested for the presence of lead-based paint.  Also, if you're buying an older home that you plan to renovate, it would be a good idea to have the paint tested before it is scraped or sanded during the renovation process.

These hazards can ONLY be confirmed by testing
  
   While every effort will be made to identify systemic and safety concerns in the home by a visual inspection and bring them to your attention, these hazards mentioned above cannot be ascertained by a visual inspection alone.  Specialized testing is necessary if the presence of radon gas, mold growth, or lead is suspected. 



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