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Smoke damage health risks


Smoke and soot in a house fire are two dangerous combinations that spell bad news for your finances. Whether the fire creates partial damage or full destruction, expect your health and home to be at high risk. The EPA warns that people with pre-existing conditions and pregnant women are at higher risk of health complications from smoke and soot. Luckily, a restoration company can remove smoke and soot in the home promptly.


What is Soot?

Soot is a black substance arising from combustion in tiny particles. Soot’s black and brown substance sticks to the home’s structure, belongings, and even your skin during and after a fire. It causes property damage, health complications, respiratory problems, and more. The smoky smell is unpleasant, and the smoky appearance contaminates the air.

Why is Soot Dangerous?

Soot contains acids like soils, dust, metals, and chemicals that are toxic and hazardous upon contact. Soot’s appearance is smaller than dust particles and hair, so it’s not as visible. Inhaling these toxic fumes aggravates breathing problems, intensifies current breathing problems, creates other health complications, and causes death. Soot continues to hide and linger in areas and belongings unfazed by the fire, jeopardizing your health. Soot re-contaminates the air through HVAC vents too. This is why you need a team of experts to clear the air using professional equipment.

Smoke Damage Health Risks

Burning of wood, plastics, furniture, electronics, and other building materials release hazardous substances, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), into the air. 

Exposure to PAHs is of particular concern as the compounds can cause DNA mutations and can cause cancer.

Soot is a byproduct of the incomplete burning of organic (carbon-containing) materials, such as wood, fuel oil, plastics, and household refuse. The fine black or brown powder that makes up soot contains a number of carcinogens, including arsenic, cadmium, and chromium.

There are many potential exposures to carcinogens in the fire restoration industry. A carcinogen is defined as any substance or radiation that promotes cancer formation or carcinogenesis. Chemical carcinogens may be natural or synthetic, toxic, or non-toxic. 

People who are exposed to toxic chemicals released into the air by burning buildings are twice as likely to get skin and testicular cancer and mesothelioma. In the aftermath of a fire, the hazardous soot is very difficult to control and makes contact with all building materials within the structure. Therefore, you need special equipment to clean it and make sure the space is safe to use again. 

Here are some common issues that smoke and soot cause:

  •  Skin irritation

Soot’s acidity combined with the smoky smell severely irritates and dries the skin. Just walking around the home and interacting with belongings kicks up soot and smoke. It flies and lands everywhere, including your skin and clothing. Some skin irritation severities may require medical treatment.

  •  Eye irritation

Soot’s acidity causes itchy eyes, watery eyes, and eye redness, soreness, discomfort, and burning sensations. It worsens when soot or smoke is airborne or when a person touches the eye with smoke or soot-infected skin. 

  •  Asthma

People who deal with asthma will notice their symptoms worsen. It’s harder to breathe because inhaling soot enters the lungs and sticks to it. Because soot and smoke affect areas where the fire didn’t go, it lingers in the air long after the fire. Children with asthma may have permanently damaged lungs after inhaling soot.

  •  Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis patients will notice their symptoms worsening. Soot and smoke enter the lungs and sticks to airways and sacs while increasing mucus. The effects will lengthen the process, making it longer to heal from this condition.

Soot and Smoke in New York

With your health at stake, it’s not wise to clean up a smoke and soot-filled home by yourself. Stay away from the house until a smoke damage restoration company arrives. Lean on iFlooded Restoration to take out the smoky smell and the soot substance after a fire. Because we know the work isn’t over after a fire, our crew will use the latest equipment to clean and sanitize the property until the smell vanishes and no soot residue remains. If the crew uncovers wet spots, they will dry the area too. To make your life easier, we will bill the home insurance company directly.

For more information about smoke damage restoration, please contact us on our website, in-person, or over the phone. For over 30 years, our experienced professionals are experts at soot and smoke removal, and they can answer any question or concern you have.