Paper hoarding is a serious problem for many people across the United States. Paper products that people hoard include books, theses, newspapers, journals, and other paper products. When these paper products begin to pile up, it can make an individual’s living environment unsafe. A paper hoarding situation can become dangerous for many people that are exhibiting this compulsive hoarding behavior. What are the dangers that can result from a paper hoarding situation?
Paper products, in extreme cases of hoarding, can grow as high as the height of the ceiling. In situations where the papers are piled up so high, the hoarder may try to develop pathways through the paper products to get to the entrance of the home. The piles of paper can be extremely unstable, and even the slightest nudge may result in these paper piles collapsing on the hoarder. This avalanche of papers may result in entrapment and, in a worse case scenarios, the hoarder may be crushed under the weight of excess paper products.
Pests can become a significant problem in a paper hoarding scenario. Pests include bugs and/or rodents that make their homes in the piles of paper. These pests can bring various diseases that can cause health issues for the hoarder. The hoarder can also face injuries due to the potential of being bitten by the bugs and vermin. Neighbors of the paper hoarder can be affected by pests that leave the home to forage for food, causing the community to notice the hoarder’s lack of cleanliness and maintenance within their home.
Paper hoarding can cause the neglect of many home systems that are necessary for a healthy living environment. Paper can fill entire rooms and make them unusable for their intended purpose. An example of such a case is if a kitchen area was cluttered with papers. The hoarder would be unable to use the stove, refrigerator, or sink. This could lead to unsanitary home conditions developing because the hoarder is unable to use the kitchen facilities. Paper piles can also block critical components of the home, such as the home’s heating system.
Fire is a constant concern in a paper hoarding situation. The paper can block critical access points to the home’s heating and electrical systems. Without access to these systems, the level of fire safety in the property may be low due to the lack of maintenance. In addition, the paper is highly flammable and can result in a high risk of a fire occurring from a mere spark.