Our last post discussed how contaminants get into our home’s water and the soil around our houses. Today, we look at how these contaminants can affect our health, which is the most important reason to test your water and soil. You’ll sleep better knowing your home and loved ones are safe.

LEAD is a toxic metal that may cause a range of health effects in both children and adults, from behavioral problems, learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, and autism, to seizures and death. Almost one million children between the ages of one and five have dangerous blood-lead levels. Many houses and apartments built before 1978, when lead paint was banned, still have lead paint on many surfaces.

Before you risk exposing your family to lead, hire a professional lead-testing service because home test kits are not always accurate, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

PCBs are a group of synthetic organic chemicals. There are no known natural sources of PCBs in the environment. Although PCBs were banned in 1977, people can still be exposed to them. Many older transformers still contain PCBs, as do old fluorescent lighting fixtures and electrical devices and appliances, such as television sets and refrigerators. If these devices are disposed of improperly, PCBs can leach into our soil and water, and be released into our air.

The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that PCBs are probable human carcinogens. In addition, people exposed to PCBs can develop skin irritations, such as acne and rashes, and irritations of the nose and lungs.

Before you risk exposing your family to PCBs, find out it a hazard exists in your home by hiring a professional testing service.

ASBESTOS was prevalent in thousands of building materials before it was banned in 1970: insulation, pipe insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, adhesives, roof shingles, siding, textured ceilings and joint compounds. Over time, these materials degrade or are disturbed and their asbestos fibers are released. Most asbestos-related diseases don’t arise until years after exposure. Since 1979, at least 43,073 people have died from asbestos-related diseases, according to the Environmental Working Group. At least 100,000 more will die over the next decade — a rate approaching 30 deaths a day.

Asbestos is a carcinogen that can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other serious respiratory ailments. Before you risk exposing your family to asbestos, find out if a hazard exists in your home by hiring a professional environmental testing company.

RADON, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is odorless, tasteless and invisible, produced when uranium naturally decays in soil and water. Ninety percent of the land in the Northeast is likely to have elevated radon levels.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Every home should be tested for radon, which is one of the many tests performed during an indoor/outdoor environmental testing program.

As water systems age, 63% of Americans are now concerned a “great deal” about drinking water pollution, according to a Gallup poll.

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