It must be accepted by all that issued relating to the environment have become gradually more imperative over the last few decades. Today it is really difficult to visualize any business or profession that is not making any endeavor to reduce, reprocess and reuse materials. At the same time, it is equally difficult to envisage that the real estate business is out of this purview or lacking in concern regarding environmental issues.

As a single home is characterized by plentiful of complexities, there is also a great deal of potential ecological issues that may arise during its transaction. However, where or not such apprehension are important is a debatable issue. In many cases, there are contradictory substantiations that prominent authorities differ on. On the other hand, many a times it is not definite if there is any hazard even when ecological 'perils' are there.

In the event your house was constructed prior to 1973, in all likelihood that it will have lead paint. Again, if you are fertilizing your lawn with chemicals, the issue of pesticides will come up. Similarly, if there is plumbing inside the building, the lead pipes and lead soldering will be a reason for worry. Again, in the even of your house not being constructing on stilts, it is possible that radon may be accumulating beneath the basement of the building and also infiltrating into the house.

Hence, all the above mentioned items establish that the prospective ecological hazards are innumerable, but then, one needs to question about the precise amount of environmental perils present in the world. They may also ask if the world will actually be risk-free at any point of time. Is it possible for us to keep away from all the environmental hazards by existing in a sheltered bubble? And in case the answer is a definite 'yes', would anyone prefer to lead such a way of life?

Currently, there are three main ecological issues that are prevalent in the residential real estates - radon, EMFs (electromagnetic fields) and FRT plywood and at any rate, it is essential that all the property buyers and seller ought to examine these issues. During the past several years, concern over radon - a pale, unscented and indiscernible gas - is growing gradually. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after cigarette smoking, radon is the second cause for developing lung cancer.

There is no dispute over the fact that radon has the potential to turn out to be a fatal gas. And there is also no doubt that radon has the capability to infiltrate into homes by way of the cracks and fractures in the basement. Radon also has the capability to accumulate within the confines of the walls of a room and when its concentration surpasses 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/l), it is important that one mulls over further examinations. It may be mentioned here that, according to the EPA, one pCi/l is deemed normal for the air inside a room. And if you want to compare this with any other thing, it is better that you know that one pCi/l is equivalent to having 20 X-rays of the chest in a single year!

Hence, it is little surprising that keeping in view the potential hazards of the deadly gas, these days more and more real estate buyers have been insisting on acceptable radon tests prior to purchasing a property. However, the final outcome is that radon is virtually a latent jackpot for swift businessmen as even the examination kits are unable to detect or determine this deadly, scent-less and invisible gas correctly. As renovation of homes with a view to make them tolerable to the effects of radon involves thousands of dollars, one can easily lay a wager on the fact that the home owners in America are spending millions of dollars each year to mend something that is seldom wrecked.

It is advisable that the radon issue ought to essentially be always dealt rationally. Notwithstanding the claims that every year around 20,000 people succumb to cancer caused by radon, there are other claims that affirm that radon found beneath the basement is just not a risk to the health. In fact, the former claims are based on the researches relating to the problems confronted by people who serve long periods as uranium miners. It is possible that supplementary studies may bring forth more proof in this regard, and only the issue of whether or not radon is a significant risk to the health can probably be determined.

Another environmental issue that has become a major concern in recent times is the potential risks to people's health owing to the high intensity of electromagnetic radiation generated by very high voltage electric lines as well as other probable sources. Despite the fact that over 100 researches relating to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have already been conducted, scientists are yet to ascertain the consequences of the EMF radiations from the power lines and other sources. However, court cases relating to the health hazards owing the EMF radiation have already come up in several areas.

It may be mentioned here that use of electricity and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are closely related. In fact, wherever there is use of electricity, one will also find the presence of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) there. Almost all electrical gadgets, including computer screens, refrigerators and electric clocks, release EMF radiation, but scientists are still to ascertain whether or not such EMF radiations really pose any health hazard.

In addition, the fact that electromagnetic field radiation is generated may perhaps be not as much of significance as compared to where it is actually created. It may be noted that the physical space usually beats the electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions. In other words, the intensity of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation diminishes as one goes further away from the place where it is generated. And so does its effect. Although this may seem to be good news for people using electrical gadgets, it is important to remember that there are several examples where the electrical appliances have value only when they are used nearby. Examples of such electrical items include electric blankets, hair dryers and electric shaves etc.

Now the moot question is whether electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions are really a risk to our health? In order to answer a query like this one will need to take into account a number of things such as the intensity of the radiation, remoteness of an individual from the place where the EMF radiation is being generated as well as the period of time the individual has spent in close proximity to the source of the emission. According to the findings of a research conducted by Swedish scientists, an individual's exposure ranging between 2 and 4 milliguass over a specific period of time may possibly prove to be risky for the person's health.

Although EMF emissions are commonplace in all homes these days, the real estate buyers and sellers ought to consider this issue in such terms - many of the daily sources of electromagnetic field emission sources like computers, hair dryers, electric shavers etc. are in no way a part of any property or the sale of the property. Hence, these should not be considered as an issue either by the seller or the buyer. However, a high-intensity electric power line that may be passing near the house or equipment of some power company lying in the property premises are definitely serious issues and should be handled in a proper way both by the buyer and the seller while transacting a property.

It is interesting to note that the majority of the EMF related court cases till date involves neighborhood power companies and the health hazards posed owing to their manner of functioning. Nevertheless, there is another debate that possibly will rock in future. And this one is whether high-tension power lines near a house really reduces the value of the property? In fact, it is very difficult for anyone to prove that a high-voltage line passing at the back of his or her house has resulted in an occupant of the property developing cancer. However, it may not be as difficult to demonstrate as well as convince the courts that apprehensions of such risks to health have been responsible for the diminishing value of a property or adversely affected its salability.

Fireproof or fire treated (FRT) wood

Not long back, manufacture of roofing objects that were resistant to fire and also avert fire from spreading was considered to be an excellent idea by most people, especially the home owners. People discovered that fire- retardant wood or fire treated (FRT) wood had the potential to stop the flames from spreading. Thus, it was not surprising to find that from 1979 onwards, millions of home owners used fire-retardant roofing to protect their property from any inferno. However, it was gradually noticed that while the chemically treated wood was really effective in restraining fires, the condition of the material or fire-retardant wood also got worse rapidly when it was exposed to heat.

There is no doubt over the fact that chemicals, wood and heat have the ability of developing into an obnoxious combination, but it is really difficult to say as to who ought to be held responsible for replacing the poor roofing material - the builder, the company manufacturing the chemical, a home warranty association or the home owner. Moreover, if a person sells the home with fire treated (FRT) wood roofing, should the seller be held accountable for replacing the damaged roof? Hence, in such situations it is virtually impossible to be sure as to who should be held liable for the environmental and health hazards.

Even at the time of writing this article, authorities are yet to ascertain the problem arising out of the use of FRT roofing. Although an effort to set up a nationwide compensation fund has proved to be futile, people are of the view that such a fund may perhaps materialize sometime in the future. Till then, the problem remains unsolved.

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