Hoarding is a condition that many find hard to understand, including hoarders themselves. In some cases, people will hoard seemingly harmless items like newspapers, boxes, clothing, collectibles, and junk mail. While hoarding any type of item in massive quantities could present physical dangers to a certain degree, perhaps the most dangerous items or objects a person could hoard are biohazard materials.
Due to the nature of the condition, biohazards are typically found in the homes of hoarders. Because large quantities of items obstruct areas in the home that must be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis, typical biohazards like mold, bacteria, and animal mess could lurk beneath mounds of hoarded objects. However, when the hoard itself consists of biohazard materials, even greater danger exists.
Hoarding and Clutter Cleanup Experts have devised a list of biohazards to monitor within a hoarded home. This list is broken down into four categories, each with their own unique set of dangerous characteristics.
Trash and Garbage
The old adage may still ring true to this day: “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Though, the philosopher who so eloquently documented that famous quote would probably agree that some trash should be left in the bins going to the dump heap.
Trash and garbage like spoiled or rotting food, or items contaminated by residues that will attract vermin, rodents, and insects should be disposed of without hesitation. The spoiled food and the soiled items themselves can cultivate bacteria and allergens strong enough to cause serious health issues. Couple that danger with the attraction of creatures who carry a variety of pathogens, bacteria, and allergens, and hoarders can be putting themselves in a potentially fatal situation.
The attraction of rodents, insects, and wild animals cannot only cause serious health risks, but risks to the overall integrity of the property as well. These creatures can destroy property by building nests, eating away at support beams and insulation, and attracting more of their species to live in the home.
Blood and Bodily Fluids
Human exposure to tainted blood can not only cause extreme health hazards to the person living around it, it can also create an epidemic that can spread throughout a community.
Blood borne pathogens like HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis, and other viral diseases can spread quickly. Tainted blood can also carry a plethora of other viral and bacterial threats. Other unattended bodily fluids like secretions, puss, and seamen can also cultivate deadly bacteria which cause extreme illness.
It is important to remember that needles and other medical equipment that are not properly disposed of could contain tainted blood and bodily fluids. All used medical equipment should be properly thrown away in a safe, regulated biohazard disposal container. All unused medical equipment should be safely stored until use is needed.
Feces, Urine and Vomit
When people think of waste material like feces and urine in a hoarded home, they tend to think of waste left behind by pets and animals. While it is very common for animal hoarding cleaning services to uncover animal waste in a hoarded home, many will be surprised to learn that home owners and family members themselves may also contribute to the presence of unattended feces, urine, and vomit in a home.
People who hoard feces, urine, and vomit will usually blame faulty plumbing for keeping waste inside the house. Others will not offer an excuse at all, stockpiling their own waste in cans, canisters and boxes. Whether waste is hoarded intently or because of neglect, hoarders must understand that feces, urine, and vomit in the home is unacceptable.
Like blood and garbage, animal and human waste can cultivate many bacterial health hazards that can prove fatal if ignored. Waste can also carry viral diseases that will work quickly to turn a waste hoarding situation fatal.
Another danger that tends to be overlooked in waste hoarding cases is the presence of ammonia in urine. Different types of urine contain veritable amounts of the toxic substance. However, it is important to remember that prolonged exposure to ammonia can cause respiratory illness, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, memory impairment, sleeping issues, seizures, and even coma.
Also, odors emanating from a home littered with animal or human waste could attract the attention of neighbors or other members of the community. Hoarders can find themselves in financial, and potentially legal, hot water if the odors from their hoarded home cause enough of a disturbance in their community.
Chemicals and Medication
Fire hazards are amongst the most common dangers in a hoarded home. The simple presence of excessive amounts of items cluttering a living space, sitting atop gas or electric appliances, or covering electrical sockets, are dangerous enough. Add the variable of unnecessary amounts of hoarded chemicals and flammable material and catastrophe becomes inevitable.
Chemical fires and explosions can damage property and claim the lives of not only hoarders, but their families and neighbors as well. These types of fires and explosions usually occur within a matter of seconds without any warning whatsoever. Being proactive and properly disposing of these dangerous materials is key to keeping a home safe.
Expired or spoiled pharmaceutical products are also a very common danger present in a hoarded home. While some of these objects or chemicals may be flammable in their own right, the mere presence of expired medication is a threat in and of itself. Some medications become more potent and even toxic over time. Disposing of these medications safely is key to ensuring people and their pets are not exposed to even greater danger.
While other biohazards may exist in a hoarded home, it is important for hoarders and their helpers to concentrate on addressing these main issues while starting on the road to recovery. Hoarding cleaning service providers not only help remove these dangerous biohazards from a hoarded home, but offer peace of mind in knowing that these items and objects will be properly and safely disposed of according to federal and state health regulations. It can be extremely dangerous for hoarders and their helpers to handle biohazard materials on their own. Contacting a professional or a local municipal authority is the safest and most efficient way to handle biohazard removal in a home.