Indoor Air Quality What You Dont Know Can Hurt You
As a realtor, I encourage testing for radon, often depending on where you are in the city, just to be safe. The remedy for radon is to install fans in the basement or crawlspace to blow out the radon gas, which is heavier than regular air. For more information, go to: www.epa.gov/radon.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) represent a myriad of dangerous chemicals emitted as gasses from certain solids and liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short-and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions, and other solvents, wood preservatives, cleansers and disinfectants, moth repellents and air fresheners, stored fuels and automotive products, hobby supplies and dry-cleaned clothes.
The ill health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, and damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some volatile organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.
I’d like to offer some suggestions and alternatives. When you paint, use only no VOC paints. A few years back, you had to go out of your way to find these paints. Now all the major traditional brands sell no VOC paints. Olympic brand is one that is inexpensive and sold all over the MetroABQ. Aside from the health and safety issues, you will be pleasantly surprised that there is virtually no paint smell immediately after the painting is finished.
Cut back on all the chemical household cleaners that are dangerous and expensive. Use vinegar and baking soda to clean practically everything.
Perchloroethylene (say that five times fast) is one of the most dangerous VOCs known and we wear it around our bodies all the time. This is a chemical used by dry cleaning companies and has known carcinogenic implications. Recent studies show that people breathe this chemical when clothes are stored at home and when they wear them. If you must wear dry-cleaned clothes, use a dry cleaners that works with Grean Earth Cleaning. They use a non-petroleum based cleaning product that has no chemicals that are harmful to you or the environment.
A holistic approach to living a greener life involves your health, the health of your home and the health of your planet.
For more information, check out the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html