Mar 12, 2013

The health of your home is important.

Among the threats your home poses to your health are poor air quality, the presence of carbon monoxide, molds, environmental tobacco smoke, chemicals, dust and pests. Did you know that children growing up in a household with someone that smokes are 40 percent more likely to develop asthma? When you undertake an upgrade of any kind consider improving the health of your home so the health of your family is improved.  
In the last 20 years, a number of studies have shown significant health improvements in homes that have been upgraded to be energy efficient. They include improved windows, doors, seals, flooring choices, lighting efficiency and improved interior furnishing selections. Symptoms including runny noses, sneezing, throat irritation, coughing, fatigue, and irritability were markedly reduced in those homes compared to those in a control group. A major factor was improved ventilation which directly leads to lower contaminant levels in the air (translating to fewer respiratory irritants), lower relative humidity (reducing dust mites and associated allergens), and lower moisture levels (reducing mold and dampness).
It was noted that while volatile organic compounds (VOCs) seem to be dropping in construction-related products like paint, cabinetry, plywood, strand board and other materials, they are going up in consumer products in the form of pesticides, air fresheners, cleaners, household cleaners, carpeting,  furniture and other products homeowners bring into their homes. Why?  People are often misinformed about indoor air quality and the how the products they bring into their homes will affect them. Keep in mind that layering is important;  it’s self defeating to install a high-quality, ultralow-VOC carpet over a low-quality, potentially high-off-gassing pad. It’s also important to properly ventilate a newly finished interior prior to occupancy, and then to continue ventilating the home at the highest practical rate for several months thereafter.
There are many resources on line to learn about home health and the products that should be avoided. We are passionate about sustainability and home health and are available for in-home or e-zine consultations to get you started.