14 January, 2011


I wanted to punch my dad in the gut. It was 5am. I was fifteen. The sun wasn’t even out yet. But he had gotten it into his crazy head that it was the perfect time to drag my brother and I out of bed for a run.

I still remember jogging along, half asleep, and furious. I thought he was just being annoying back then. But now I see that he was trying to be a good father. You see, my dad wouldn't let anything stop us from exercising, not even my laziness. He made being healthy a priority. As dads, you should watch out for long term issues like diabetes and obesity, of course. But you should also keep an eye out for less obvious health hazards that can be caused by household toxins: asbestos and lead.

Older homes were built using asbestos, a fire-resistant mineral used I dry wall and insulation. When inhaled, the asbestos fibers can cause a deadly lung cancer. Mesothelioma symptoms are subtle and include shortness of breath and heaviness in the chest area. Because of a 20-50 year latency period, mesothelioma life expectancy is often extremely short.

What should you do if you suspect asbestos exposure?
● Do not handle it (you can't fix this one on your own)
● Keep your children far from the infected area
● Contact a licensed and trained asbestos abatement contractor
● Consider seeing a doctor; ask about getting screened

Next up is lead. Lead can be found in pipes, soil, paints, and even dust. Through swallowing or inhaling lead particles, you or your kids are susceptible to poisoning. Lead poisoning may result in loss of memory, damage to reproductive organs, and digestive problems in adults. It can lead to weight loss, developmental damage and hearing loss in children. Kids are much more likely to suffer from lead poisoning since they tend to enjoy putting things into their mouths.

What should you do if you suspect lead poisoning?
● See a professional about removing the lead-based materials
● Ask for lead screenings for you and your little ones
● Diet! Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron as well as a balanced diet

My dad cared for our long term health. He wanted to save us from unhealthy lifestyles. Exercise was his solution. But toxic situations may require you to be super dad. Healthy kids should grow up to be healthy adults. Long term health care for your kids may be up to you.

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