Possible Health Issues
Health hazards associated with modern home ownership include radon, lead and mold. Due to the geological structure of the land, the EPA has ranked Fulton County as a Zone 1 for potential radon risk and recommends homes in this area be tested. Lead-based paint was not used after 1978 in Alpharetta, so any home built after this date should be lead-free. Mold, however, can be an problem in any home.
Radon is a radioactive, colorless, and odorless gas. It is created when naturally occurring uranium decays in rock and soil. Radon is toxic and is generally believed by scientists to cause lung cancer. Thus, prolonged exposure to elevated levels of radon is considered dangerous. The risk is much greater for smokers than non-smokers, but everyone should be aware of these health factors.
Starting in the early 1900’s lead was frequently used in both interior and exterior paint as a pigment and drying additive. Unfortunately the lead in the paint was later discovered to be one of the leading causes of lead poisoning in young children. Elevated lead levels in the body can cause brain and nervous system damage as well as slowed growth, hearing problems, and headaches in children. Estimates state that two-thirds to three-quarters of homes built in the 1930’s and 1940’s contain lead based paint. By 1950, lead based paint was only used in half of new homes. Usage of lead based paint continued to decrease into the early seventies as latex-based paint became more popular. The federal government has ban lead-based paint for residential applications since 1978.
Mold is one of the newest concerns on the legal front, and is one of the hottest topics in real estate and homeownership today. Although mold has always been present in areas with a water problem, research on the health concerns and related issues are still developing.