University of Maryland Extension

Keeping Contaminant-Free

Many homes are most unfamiliar with contaminants and their effects. Radon, lead paint, asbestos, tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, mercury, pesticides, and household chemicals are among the most common and harmful contaminants. 

Quick tips to controlling contaminants:

    1. Radon - The only way to know if you have this invisible, odorless gas is to test your home. 

    2. Lead can be found in the soil, water and some consumer products. You can reduce lead dust in your home by adding a doormat, removing your shoes and keeping your home clean by damp mopping. 
    3. Asbestos may be found in a wide range of building materials in older homes, including insulation, flooring, roofing and textured paint. The best thing to do is to leave it alone or hire a professional to remove it. Learn more about asbestos on the EPA website.
    4. Well Water needs to be tested for contaminants. Contact your Extension Office and test your water quality
    5. Tobacco - Turn your home into a smoke-free zone.
    6. Carbon Monoxide - Maintain combustion equipment like heating systems. 
    7. Mercury - Clean up broken compact fluorescent lights and go to Earth 911 to dispose of them.
    8. Hazardous Household Products - Store them out of reach of children and pets and learn how to properly dispose of items.
    9. Look-Alike Products - Leave products in original packaging and medications on the counter or in an accessible handbag. 
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