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Help My Home is Killing Me!

Where can I be exposed to toxins?
  • Toxins can be anywhere.
  • Toxins can be invisible.
  • Toxins can be pre-existing.
  • Toxins can come up through the slab on the floor.
  • Toxins can migrate in an urban settings.
  • Over 5 billion pounds of toxins are released by industry into the environment yearly, including 75 million pounds of carcinogens.
  • They do not stay where they are put, but migrate through natural processes like dispersion and diffusion.
  • Toxins can infiltrate your private space through a product liability or a construction defect, especially if a house/condo/apartment is built near industry or above or near a dump site.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund community involvement program encourages understanding of environmental and human health risks associated with living in proximity to hazsdous sites.
  • In today's tightly constructed homes, toxins can become trapped from sources like building materials (formaldehyde), cleaning products (solvents), furniture (volatile organic compounds), books (printing ink), and clothing (chemical treatments); or external sources like automobiles (exhaust fumes), the soil (radon), lawns (herbicides, fertilizers), the proximity of industry and urban waste.
  • Only by testing of your environment can you determine if your home has been invaded by harmful toxins. That is only the first step, because subsequently you will have to decide how to handle the toxic situation.
Want to Do Your Own Research? Start Here:

Brown Superfund Basic research Program: a multistakeholder partnership addresses real-world problems in contaminated communities. Senier L, Hudson B, Fort S, Hoover E, Tillson R, Brown P. Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jul 1;42(13):4655-62.

White Paper on PCBs in the built environment. American Industrial Hygiene Association. Developed by the AIHA® Indoor Environmental Quality Committee in conjunction with the Construction Committee, Environmental Issues Committee, Exposure Assessment Strategies Committee, and Risk Assessment CommitteeApproved by the AIHA Board of Directors September 26, 2013 Evaluating public participation in environmental decision-making: EPA's superfund community involvement program. Charnley S, Engelbert B. J Environ Manage. 2005 Nov;77(3):165-82. Epub 2005 Aug 22. Increased prevalence of primary biliary cirrhosis near Superfund toxic waste sites. Ala A, Stanca CM, Bu-Ghanim M, Ahmado I, Branch AD, Schiano TD, Odin JA, Bach N. Hepatology. 2006 Mar;43(3):525-31.

Thermal removal of pyrene contamination from soil: basic studies and environmental health implications. Saito HH, Bucalá V, Howard JB, Peters WA. Environ Health Perspect. 1998 Aug;106 Suppl 4:1097-107.

Experimental design considerations for verifying the performance of screening technologies for dioxin and dioxin-like compounds in soils and sediments. Dindal A, Billets S. Chemosphere. 2008 Aug;73(1 Suppl):S66-71. Epub 2008 May 6.

Dermal absorption of environmental contaminants from soil and sediment: a critical review. Spalt EW, Kissel JC, Shirai JH, Bunge AL. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2008 Oct 1

Evaluation of alternative approaches for screening contaminated sediments and soils for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans. Schrock M, Dindal A, Billets S. J Environ Manage. 2008 Sep 17

PAHs and PCBs deposited in surficial sediments along a rural to urban transect in a Mid-Atlantic coastal river basin (USA). Foster GD, Cui V. J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2008 Oct;43(12):1333-45.

Evaluation of polychlorinated biphenyl remediation at a Superfund site using tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) as indicators. Spears BL, Brown MW, Hester CM. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2008 Aug 12:1.

The stability of marine sediments at a tidal basin in San Francisco Bay amended with activated carbon for sequestration of organic contaminants. Zimmerman JR, Bricker JD, Jones C, Dacunto PJ, Street RL, Luthy RG. Water Res. 2008 Sep;42(15):4133-45. Epub 2008 Jun 25.

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