Steps for Safe Home Renovation

Home renovations can be a time of upheaval. Be aware of these potential problems to avoid possible illness as well.


Many household cleaners have harmful vapors.

  • Be sure rooms are properly ventilated when using cleaning supplies.

Formaldehyde and Organic Gases

New furniture, carpet and drapes may release irritating gases.

  • Particleboard, fiberboard and pressed-wood cabinets, paneling and furniture may release formaldehyde gas. Choose pieces made of “exterior grade” pressed wood, solid wood or another material if possible.
  • Keep rooms well ventilated when new carpets, drapes, cabinetry or other pressed wood furniture are installed.
  • If you develop headaches, nausea, burning in the eyes or throat, or increased asthma, limit your time in the affected room until the odor lessens.

Lead Paint

Young children are at risk for unknowingly ingesting lead contaminated dust or paint chips. Even small amounts of lead over time may lead to developmental delays in children.

  • Call your state health department or the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-5323 for information on how you can have lead paint in your home removed safely.

Paint Thinners and Sealants

These products contain solvents that can be dangerous if they are swallowed or inhaled for long periods of time.

  • Follow product directions, including using an appropriate respirator as necessary.
  • Keep areas well ventilated until odors lessen. Keep all household products and construction materials locked up or high away from children. If you notice that you feel noticeably better outside of your home, or have any other question about poisoning risks in your home, call the poison center at 1-800- 222-1222.