Toxic Gases... or ??


Old 03-19-13, 09:47 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: USA
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Question Toxic Gases... or ??

Hi all,

I didn't see a good category to post this in the other forums. So I guess it's going here.

I'm wondering if I should be testing for Radon or other toxic gases in my home. Or something I don't even know about. I suppose it's something I should probably do anyway, but here is what has me a little worried:

I moved in here 5 years ago. Within 1 or 2 years, certain types of rubber products I owned dried out and turned very brittle. These were things I've had for many years before. And they never showed any signs of drying out prior to moving in here. And it only seems to happen on certain types of rubber products. Other rubber products haven't shown signs of drying out at all.

Also, it is my girlfriend's house and she lived here for 15 years prior to me moving in. About 5 years before I moved in, I bought a widget with rubber sleeves on it (I won't get into what it is). About 2 years before I moved in, I bought my girlfriend the same model widget as mine. My widget was kept in my home for 5 years with no problems, and the rubber on her widget dried out in about a year in her house. After I moved in, the rubber on my widget dried out within a year.

I suppose one step would be to determine the chemical composition of the rubber that tends to dry out. But other than that, I am just looking for some thoughts and advice from ya'll.

Thanks in advance!

P.S. - We lived within a mile of each other prior to me moving in. So climate differences aren't the issue. The only difference I can think of is that I had forced air HVAC in my house; and she has radiators with a boiler, and no AC.
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Old 03-19-13, 01:58 PM
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I wonder if her house has lower humidity?

A radon test is always a good idea but if none of the neighbors have radon issues, it's not likely she does either.
Old 03-19-13, 05:47 PM
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Radon is non-corrosive and is inert as far as affecting anything other than human cells.

Low humidity is a possibility or perhaps the home where the material lasted longer was considerably cooler.
One thing that is well known to cause problems with deterioration of rubber and certain plastics is Ozone.
Ionizing air cleaners, air fresheners, negative ion generators and smoke eliminators are a common source.
Say, you wouldn't have a Van de Graaff generator would you?

Another thing will affect plastics and rubber is solvents and cleaning agents either applied to the items or in the air.
Last shot is maybe you used your widget more or harder than hers!
Old 03-19-13, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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I agree it might be dry air so you might want to invest in a humidifier but don't let it run too long as that can help set up a mold situation. Also I have heard bad things about ion generators that GregH talked about so those should be unplugged and turned off if you have them as they are not good for you or your house. True too if you apply certain cleaners to rubber it will definitely cause deterioration. Wouldn't hurt to conduct a radon test though as they are cheap but I doubt too that is what is causing your problem. If you do a radon test make sure you do it in a basement and don't open the door for 24 hours. If you don't have a basement then put the test device in an empty room and close the door again with no ventilation or opening the door. Then seal the test and mail it to the testing facility.

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