VOCs: The invisible threat

Wanting to get rid of bedbugs fast is understandable, but in the case of “quick fixes” like pesticide bombs, the remedy can end up the enemy. Last month, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued a consumer alert warning against the improper use of off-label pesticides and those not cleared for indoor use (such as propoxur).

Even among EPA-approved pesticides, there can be serious health risks involved, including adverse effects on the reproductive and nervous systems. Children are especially susceptible because pesticides can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which pose a more common and more dangerous household threat than bedbugs. Emitted as harmful gases, VOCs also can be found in other everyday chemicals, such as paints and cleaning supplies. Learn more about what household chemicals emit these harmful gases by reading our guide to VOCs. Plus, we’ve got 6 tips for reducing your VOC exposure.

Ticks: Their bite is worse

Bedbug bites don’t create the health problems ticks can. Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease are both serious illnesses borne by ticks. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious illness that can land you in the hospital. Lyme disease can affect the joints, nervous system, heart, skin, and eyes. You can create a tick-safe zone around your home with these landscaping techniques from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Toxic drywall: Bad for you and your home

Sometimes referred to as the “silent hurricane,” not only is toxic Chinese drywall a health issue, but it’s extremely costly to remediate. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, emissions from this imported drywall corrode everything from electrical fixtures to plumbing and air conditioning coils, and can cause severe headaches and respiratory ailments.

Mold: The wet threat

Some molds, such as stachybotrys chartarum, or “black mold,” produce mycotoxins that in rare cases can be deadly to children, the elderly, or people with mold allergies. Ensuring that mold never comes into your home means keeping it clean, dry, and well-ventilated. Read 10 Ways to Prevent Costly Mold Damage to Your Home for tips on keeping your home mold-free.

None of this is to say that getting rid of bedbugs is easy and that they can’t be harmful to your health (although they’ve never been known to cause disease, they can cause allergic reactions). Dealing with a bedbug infestation requires considerable time, technical knowledge, and assistance by trained and experienced professionals.

In order to avoid an infestation, common sense, vigilance, and a level head goes a long way. HouseLogic’s extensive articles on protecting your home from pests are a great place to start.