If you haven’t been in tune with what’s happening in the news lately, there was a massive oil spill along the Southern California coastline spreading from Huntington Beach to surrounding areas. Over 13,000 gallons have already spilled out, and marine life from plants to fish, turtles, seafaring birds, and more have been affected.
The spill has created an ecological catastrophe that has overwhelmed local response teams. As a result, there has been a public call to action for donations to help with mitigation, rescue and recovery efforts, and cleanup programs.
The City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister is on record as stating, “as we witness the devastating effects of the climate emergency unfold in a myriad of ways across the globe, the news of the oil spill hits close to home for our community.”
She continued, “Trained spill-response personnel are deployed to stop the spread of the oil and to clean up parts of the environment that have been affected, so volunteers are not needed at this time. But donations are vital to helping organizations respond to the overwhelming need.”
While the catastrophe unfolds, there are health risks as consequences of the oil spill. And those health risks got us thinking about health risks around the house that are easily preventable.
Some of the primary health concerns around the home include:
Injury From Falls
Falls are the number 1 cause of severe injury and death in the home. The primary victims of severe injuries from falls are the elderly, and a few simple prevention tips are all it can take to avoid a nasty fall. Falls typically happen on staircases or the bathroom as people climb or descend the stairs or enter into or from the tub. A simple solution is to add handrails or other assistance for those high-risk areas, including non-slip mats in and around the bathroom.
A second leading cause of severe issues is accidental poisoning, typically associated with young children. There are over 5,000 unintentional poisoning fatalities per year, and there are some simple solutions to avoid these tragedies. Store all chemical cleaners in secure cabinets or raised above the reach of a curious little one. Paint and other toxins should be stored in a locked storage area or placed high above on a rack in the garage. Do not store any potential toxin or poison in food containers, and have the poison control center number in a precise, easy-to-access location.
The danger of carbon monoxide is that it is a clear, odorless gas that can slowly asphyxiate you and your loved ones. The primary way to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning is to have detectors located around the home, especially near or inside bedrooms. Another tip is to get yearly service for your home HVAC system, especially the heater, before the cold weather comes.
The third cause of death at home is due to fires in the house. Again, there could be issues with too much clutter, unsupervised fire risks associated with cooking or children, and the risk associated with pests.
To eliminate and minimize these risks include:
- Installing in-home smoke detectors
- Always supervise cooking and open flame
- Get electric wiring tested annually as pests or corrosion could create a potential fire risk
- Be aware of external lights such as during the holidays, a faulty bulb or wiring is a significant risk factor
- Extinguish all candles before leaving or going to sleep
- Get your storage area inspected to eliminate the risk of pests and nesting. A good example is to get your attic inspected and consider attic cleaning services to take care of any potential risks associated with clutter and pests
Avoiding the potential of in-home risks is easy, but take some action. The environmental risks associated with climate crises are more complex to mitigate as an individual. That said, there are some simple ways you can minimize your impact on the environment, and those include:
Being engaged and encouraging representatives to take action
Participating in volunteer organizations to aid in sustainability
Support local small businesses and farms
Move to a more sustainable home
- Choosing more energy-efficient appliances
- Turn off and unplug all devices when not in use
- Use public transportation and hybrid/electric vehicles
- Minimize packaging and single-use bags
- Move away from a meat-centric diet
Taken together, these small efforts can add up to significant positive impacts on your safety at home and benefit your environment as well.