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Protecting your Lungs - Yavapai Health

October is Healthy Lung Month

October is Healthy Lung Month, so this is a perfect chance to talk about some household toxins that could have a negative impact on lung health. Such substances include asbestos, radon, arsenic, and carbon monoxide. Since they are commonly found inside homes, it is imperative that you know how they can affect your health, and what you can do to lower your risk.


Asbestos is a fibrous material that was commonly used in old industrial and commercial buildings. Its main purpose was to be used as a form of fireproofing, or insulation. Asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma cancer, which is a rare form of cancer that attacks the lining of lungs, abdomen, and heart. Symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, fever, fatigue, coughing, and low blood sugar. If you think there could be asbestos in your home, it is important to have abatement specialists handle the removal! Asbestos is the most harmful when it has been disturbed, so do not try to handle removal on your own.


Radon is a radioactive gas that is released from elements in the soil and rocks. It is also has no smell, or taste, and it is invisible. Long-term radon exposure can cause lung cancer. People who spend a lot of time in poorly ventilated places are at the highest risk. It is a good idea to have your home’s radon level tested. If the radon levels are too high, active soil depressurization is one of the best solutions. This technique will collect the radon from beneath the home, before it is able to enter.


Arsenic is an element that is naturally found in the air, water, rocks, soil, and animals. It can be released into the environment from agricultural and industrial sources. It is typically used in pesticides, and as a preservative. Short term exposure can lead to nausea, rashes, and muscle weakness. Exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause several types of ailments including kidney, bladder, and lung cancer. Although arsenic is a naturally occurring element, and it is impossible to eliminate it completely, there are some things that can be done to lower your risk of any serious arsenic related health problems. You can have the arsenic levels of the water in your home tested. You could also have laboratory tests of urine, hair, or blood to see if your arsenic intake is too high.


          Carbon monoxide is a gas which travels from your lungs to your bloodstream where it attaches to the hemoglobin molecules which transport oxygen throughout the blood. Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it has no smell, or taste, so it can easily go undetected. Being exposed can cause chest pain, nausea, and shortness of breath. If it goes untreated, the individual could lose consciousness and it could lead to death. The best way to avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide is to install a carbon monoxide detector.


Radon, carbon monoxide, asbestos, and arsenic can be very detrimental to lung health. Now that you know their potential danger, it is important that you take the necessary precautionary steps to protect your home, and yourself. Help spread the word about these harmful substances in honor of Healthy Lung Month!



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