What is soot?
In order to understand the health effects of soot, it is important to first look at what soot actually is and how it is formed.
When fossil fuels (wood, oil, coal etc) are burned, tiny black and brown particles are left on surfaces around the fire – this is soot. Usually, this will be confined to a chimney. Although very small, these particles can contain tiny fragments of dust, soil, metal, chemicals and, most dangerously, acids.
While soot can be incredibly important to many different industrial processes, like glass manufacturing and boiler performance, it can also be incredibly harmful to things around it.
Wherever soot lands, the acid can cause damage to the surface if left over time, not to mention the air quality of the room around it. In the event of a house fire, this can spread all over the property, even to parts that were unaffected by the fire itself.
There doesn’t have to have been a house fire for you to suffer the health effects of soot, however – soot can be formed from candle use, if you burn enough of them. If you have a fireplace, you need to make sure that it is ventilated well enough, so that the soot isn’t released back into the house.
When used in industrial processes, soot can have major implications for the ecosystem in the surrounding area – while it is on a much smaller scale in the home, the effects can be equally serious for the people living there.
Hidden Dangers of Smoke & Soot Damage
Fires in the home are traumatic experiences for everyone involved, and it can take a little while to get the property back to a habitable condition. While your focus may be on getting everything looking better, it is important to remember the health effects of soot, and take steps to nullify them.
It is, obviously, not healthy to be breathing air that has tiny soot particles in it. There are 3 main dangers:
- Asthma: Any asthma sufferers in the home will see their condition worsened by the poorer air quality – it will need to be thoroughly cleaned before they can live in comfort. Furthermore, inhaling soot can cause irritation in your throat and lungs, and this has been linked to the development of asthma in children. This will lead to a vulnerability to infections for the rest of their lives.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: When there are particles in the air, your air passages need to work harder and they inflame. This can lead to the sufferer having breathing problems for the rest of their life. This can cause the lung condition Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This will increase the risk of heart disease and cancers.
- Eye & Skin Irritation: A less serious, but still unpleasant side effect of soot particles in the air is the irritation of eyes and skin. The acid and chemicals, in particular, that are present in the soot can cause itchiness and discomfort. The soot can also attach itself to your clothes, so the irritation can last when you leave the property as well.
These can affect anybody, but children and the elederly are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of soot, so it is incredibly important that all steps are taken to ensure your home is soot free. Following the trauma of a house fire, the last thing you need is further ongoing health issues.
How Ideal Response can help
In the aftermath of a fire, it is incredibly important that you act quickly. If left untreated soot can stain materials by being ground into the fibres – the more this happens, the more difficult it can be to clean and remove the particles altogether.
At Ideal Response, we know how dangerous the health effects of soot can be, so we offer a 24/7 rapid response and we pledge to be with you within 2 hours of receiving your call. We will begin the soot and ash removal straight away.
With a combination of the best practices and the best equipment (HEPA rated), our experienced and qualified technicians will ensure that all of the soot particles are removed from the premises, and not just redistributed around the house.
Once we have cleared the house of soot, leaving it looking better and safe to inhabit. We also offer an odour neutralisation service, which is guaranteed to eliminate 100% of all soot and ash odours.
A house fire is one of the most upsetting things that can happen to a person, and we understand that. Let us help you get your house back to normal as quickly as possible, and we’ll make it free from potential hazards. The health effects of soot is something that you shouldn’t have to worry about, so let us take care of it for you.