Knowing The Dangers Of Smoke And Soot

Fire damage can continue to have its effect on you and your Lees Summit home long after the flames have been put out. Smoke and soot residue left over after a fire may seem like something you can clean yourself, but before you try to tackle any DIY fire damage restoration, we at Kade Cleaning Systems want you to be aware of the dangers of smoke and soot.

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Dangers Of Smoke And Soot

Leftover smoke and soot are more than just dirty and smelly – they are very dangerous. Exposure to smoke and soot can cause some major adverse health reactions, especially if that exposure is prolonged throughout a DIY restoration process. In fact, soot is so dangerous that exposure to it led to the first ever occupation health legislation. In the 18th century, British Parliament installed the Chimney Sweepers Act in response to all the adverse reactions that are associated with smoke and soot, including cancer. So, what is it about smoke and soot that makes it so dangerous?

Toxins From Burning Materials

Not all materials burn the same in a fire. Materials that do not burn clean result in waste products, whether solids, liquids, or gases, that contain chemicals and toxins. Exposure to these contaminants is very harmful to your health. Items like plastic, fabric, carpet, wood, wool, and the drywall and insulation in the walls hold a lot of different chemicals that are released when combustion occurs during a fire. Smoke and soot are the leftover bi-products of those materials, which make them hazardous. The most common toxins found in smoke and soot following a fire include:

  • Carbon materials that can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxide
  • Asbestos that can cause mesothelioma
  • Hydrogen chloride, bromomethane, and halocarbons
  • Hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide that form from sulfur
  • Smoke from wood that contains hundreds of chemicals that are also found in cigarette smoke
  • Formaldehyde, ketones, carboxylic acids, and more that partial oxidation of hydrocarbons produce

Side Effects Of Smoke And Soot

Following a fire, you can be exposed to smoke and soot through direct contact and inhalation. Airborne soot particles are microscopic, so you may think the air is safe to breathe when really it is contaminated. Wiping down smoke and soot residue disrupts the particle, causing them to be inhaled also. Even exposure to your skin by trying to clean them up on your own can cause health symptoms. Some common side effects of smoke and soot exposure are:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Irritation to eyes, nose, and throat
  • Rashes on skin
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Cancer

In infants, the elderly, and those who are chronically ill, these side effects are even more serious. In fact, infants who have been exposed to smoke and soot chemicals and residue could have lifelong consequences and risk complications with their developing respiratory symptoms. 

Adequate personal protective equipment, and proper cleaning methods are required to safely cleanup soot and smoke from fire damage. To ensure that you and your family are not exposed to the harm caused by smoke and soot residues, fire damage cleanup and restoration should not be attempted on your own. You should contact Kade Cleaning Systems if a fire in Lees Summit has affected your home. With the proper equipment, training, and techniques, our experts can safely remove smoke and soot, and handle fire damage restoration from start to finish.

Contact Us

If this is an emergency, please call (816) 888-9653 for immediate help 24/7.

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