Health Impacts

Exposure to some materials and associated chemicals can potentially cause a variety of health impacts ranging from short-term problems (lethargy, headaches, nausea and skin rashes) to more serious conditions (respiratory problems, nerve damage, allergies, severe poisoning and possibly cancer).

Pregnant women, babies and young children may be more susceptible to the effects of hazardous materials at lower levels of exposure. Animals can be affected too.

Chemicals enter the body through three main pathways:

  • Inhalation: where dust or fumes are breathed in and absorbed into the lung tissue and blood;
  • Ingestion: where dust contaminates hands, food, eating utensils and ciarettes and is then accidentally eaten;
  • Absorption: where chemicals are absorbed through the skin into tissues and circulated around the body in the blood.

Remember: dust and fumes are the main sources of hazards. Safe renovation practices aim to avoid creating hazards in the first place and to manage any that are created.