After a fire incident that destroyed houses in Irvine last year, the danger still continues. Even if the flames have been put out, the harmful effects of soot are still present. Unless a fire and soot damage professional totally cleaned up and restored your property, you are saved. Soot is dangerous and may have spread to your entire home. This poses a threat to your property, as well as to your health. Learn more about the harmful effects of soot in this article.
What is Soot?
Soot is a particulate matter made of fine particles of carbon from the incomplete combustion of materials. Examples are wood, fossil fuels, coal, oil, etc.
Moreover, it contains chemicals, acids, soils, metals, and dust and has a foul odor. The particles make surfaces and areas of your home (like walls, ceilings, etc.) look ugly because of stains. If not addressed right away, it will also affect the air quality in your home.
Effects of Soot: Why is It Dangerous?
Smoke and soot can have negative effects on your health and your home. Addressing this issue immediately with a professional is necessary. However, people need to be informed about the harmful effects of soot on one’s life:
1. Respiratory Issues
Prolonged exposure to soot particles can cause respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing and cough. Also respiratory ailments and infections such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, etc.
A higher incidence rate of skin cancer has been noted since the 18th century among chimney sweeps. Other studies discovered the predominant risk of esophageal, lung, and bladder cancers in chimney sweeps.
3. Premature Deaths
Prolonged periods of soot inhalation are linked to premature deaths. An estimated 20,000 Americans died due to diseases caused by soot inhalation.
4. Irritating Odor
Whether the property has suffered from a fire or not, the smell of smoke usually clings to the surfaces of the property. This is hard to get rid of and the odor can be very irritating.
5. Soot Damage to Your Property
Because of the acidic nature of soot, it can cause corrosion of metal parts in electronic devices. The smoke and its by-product contain metallic particles so when it lodges in the device, it creates a short circuit.
The belongings in your home undergo damage when the soot particles infiltrate into the materials deeply. Examples include walls, carpets, draperies, and upholstery. It will cause discoloration on painted surfaces and will make the coating soften and fail. Stains will make your ceilings and walls look messy.
6. Decreased Air Quality
The presence of soot either from burning candles or fireplaces can affect your home’s indoor air quality. They contribute to indoor air pollution. Paraffin candles or incense emit soot steadily and cling to the ceilings and walls. Fireplaces with poor ventilation can lead to the accumulation of soot inside the home.
7. High Cost of Cleanup
Smoke and soot cleanup should be done by fire damage restoration professionals especially if it is caused by a fire. And homeowners need to spend on this. However, your insurance policies will cover the cost of damage that results from a house fire and its by-products. Document everything about soot damage caused by a fire when filing an insurance claim.
Effects of Soot: Toxic Burning Materials
When incomplete combustion occurs, materials such as plastic, wood, fabric, wool, carpet, drywall, and insulation in the walls release different chemicals during a fire. And the leftover by-products of those materials are smoke and soot which are hazardous.
The most common toxins found in soot and smoke after a fire include:
- carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and ammonia from carbon materials
- asbestos fibers that can cause cancer specifically mesothelioma
- smoke from wood that contains a lot of chemicals that are found in cigarettes
- hydrogen sulfide, thiols, and sulfur dioxide from sulfur
- hydrogen chloride, bromomethane, and halocarbons from PVC
- formaldehyde, ketones, and carboxylic acids
Soot Damage Cleanup Services
Fire by-products including soot can compromise not only your property but also your health because they are dangerous. To prevent further damage from the effects of soot, let the trained professionals from Superior Restoration handle the smoke and soot cleanup. They will get rid of dust and soot particles from the air with proper ventilation.