Thank you for your interest in something that is very close to my heart. Living green, re-cycling, call it what you will. This article is all about having a healthy home.
Have you ever wondered why your nose tickles, your throat closes up or your skin itches when you bring home a new piece of upholstered furniture, or have a new carpet installed? This is due to the chemicals in the fibres, all supposedly there to make it easier to keep clean or even cheaper to produce. Natural fibres, ie silk, wool, cotton or linen are more expensive to produce and manufacture. They are however, healthier for us and our children and the planet as a whole. Many man-made fibres are made from plastic, which is won from oil. There are many chemicals added during the manufacturing process that are either harmful or not healthy for any of us; including our four-legged friends. If you are a pet owner, be aware that animals are just as affected as we are by toxic chemicals in the home.
The 5 common household contaminants are the following:
1. Cigraette smoke
Toxic glue holds down our synthetic pads and carpet. The paint on the walls is lead-based and emitting gasses. The furniture is sprayed with fire-retardent, stain resisting chemicals and dyed with even more chemicals. The many chemical fragrances from hygiene and cleaning products are wafting through the house. Scented candles, scent sticks, fresh-air blocks, the list is almost endless. Quick, where's my gas mask? Well, you won't need one if you do a little research and find out beforehand what's safe to buy and use. When it's time to repaint, have a look at the new paints that are now being offered as eco-friendly, containing fewer VOC's (volatile organic compounds) Quality paint manufacturers now list the "safe" VOC's on each tin, making your choice easier. 50 grams or less per litre is advised for a flat paint, and 150 grams or less per litre for a gloss paint. Ask at your local DIY centre, they'll surely have all the information for you. Any house or dwelling that's more than 25 years old probably has lead in the painted walls. Although lead in paint was "outlawed" in 1978, many older homes are still contaminated. Be sure to ask your friendly DIY centre or any handiman how to work with older surfaces.
Formaldehyde isn't just the stuff of high school science labs. It's more common in your home than you might think. Formaldehyde is used in fertilizers, glues, plywood, fiberboard, particleboard and certain types of insulation, as well as in some disinfectants, antibacterial soaps and even beauty products. Formaldehyde has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA. Its vapors can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin, and also cause asthma attacks in sensitive people. Home exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to respiratory allergies in children.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas produced by the decay of a naturally occurring element in soil called radium. Radium could be anywhere, and if it occurs in high levels, radon gas can be a serious problem.
I wanted to draw your attention to other parts of our lifestyle, perhaps things you've not thought about before. The more we are aware of, the easier it is to make healthier choices the second time around. Reading labels is SO important, and will help you make informed choices when you next renovate or move. A healthy mind comes from a healthy body, and that can only exist if the environment around one is healthy.
God Bless! 'Till next time! Cheron Long-Landes (C) 2014
Thanks to Dr Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz of The Healthy Home for some of this information.
Also to the website NRDC.org