After the austerity and misery of World War II, Britons were keen to splash out wherever they could – and nowhere was such post-war materialism more evident than in the home.

But while Britons gleefully embraced modern design in the 1950s, they didn't realise that the luxury modern homes they were creating were actually full of hidden dangers.

Many of those dangers are still lurking in homes today.

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1. Carbon monoxide

The main sources of this deadly gas were gas boilers in the bathrooms of post-war homes.

Bathrooms are often sealed rooms and when fossil fuels in the old-style boilers didn’t burn off completely, they led to odourless, colourless, tasteless and invisible carbon monoxide seeping into the room.

The gas could kill, particularly if there was no ventilation.

While you're unlikely to have a bathroom boiler any more, carbon monoxide can still be a problem in modern homes if gas heating appliances are faulty, so carbon monoxide alarms are recommended.

2. Flammable furniture

Cushions and mattresses using the new cheap and durable polyurethane foam began to be used in the 1950s, but although it helped keep cushions looking plump, the foam was highly flammable, and during the 1950s and 1960s the number of house fires doubled.

Polyurethane foam now has added flame retardants, which make it much safer.

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3. Moulded plywood furniture

Moulded plywood furniture, particularly chairs, became popular in the post-war era. The criss-cross wood layers that added strength to the plywood were stuck together with strong, synthetic glues which released formaldehyde.

The chemical is classified in the UK as a carcinogen, and it can irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.

Prolonged exposure can cause skin sensitisation and allergic contact dermatitis. However, although it's still widely used in the manufacture of numerous products including shampoos, plastics, carpets, clothing, and glues, it’s a naturally-occurring chemical not considered hazardous at low levels.

4. Fibreglass

These thinly-spun glass fibres were used in loft insulation after the war, and continue to be used today.

The fibres can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and some fear they can cause lung irritation and may even have carcinogenic properties.

However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has studied fibre levels in loft insulation in UK homes, and concluded that man-made manufactured fibres, such as fibreglass, in lofts present no significant hazard to householders.

5. Asbestos

Asbestos was a popular post-war building material, used in ceiling coatings, boiler flue pipes, floor tiles, cold water storage tanks, and insulation materials. It's common in post-war semis on gutters, downpipes and soffits.

Although its use was banned in 1999, your home still has a 50% chance of harbouring asbestos.

It's only likely to be dangerous if released into the air and inhaled, but then it's linked to lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma (cancer in the lining of the chest or abdomen).

Experts say there should be little or no risk if the asbestos is enclosed and left undisturbed, but it must be checked regularly for signs of deterioration, and it can be released when improvement work is carried out.

Have you spotted any hidden dangers in your home? Warn others about them in the Comments section below.