I’m so old that I can remember when the family doctor knew all about you personally. Stethoscope in hand, he or she told you how much weight to lose, to drink less, or the vitamin supplements you need, all based on an intimate, comprehensive knowledge of you as the patient.
Today’s trip to the General Practitioner’s crowded office feels like a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles where you take a ticket and wait to be impersonally processed. The doctor may miss your ailment, but never your co-pay.
Today, GPs do referrals and since the doctor who ultimately treats you hardly knows you, you have to be your own medical advocate. It’s up to you to ask the questions and learn your options.
And this has what to do with being green?
If you are average, you are poisoning yourself. Slowly. A breath at a time. In your own home. You’re loading toxins into the air, and there’s nobody to advocate that you stop. Most of us haven’t the time nor the patience to learn what they’ve put in the popular brand home cleaners we use, not to mention the toxins found in the materials with which they built your home. Read More
It started in the seventies. The dollar savings drive towards energy-efficient homes that sent homeowners beefing up installation, improving caulking, replacing leaky windows, and adding weather-stripping.
But popular myth has it that an airtight home has to mean increased levels of toxic chemicals in home air, trapped from cleaning solutions, office printers, pest control chemicals and even toxins given off by the very materials used in home construction and furnishing. It’s an issue for all of us but especially for chemically sensitive individuals with asthma or allergies.
So here’s how to have both energy-efficiency and have decent air quality.
If you are building a new home or remodeling, consider the materials you’ll use. Major home air pollutant sources include wall-to-wall carpeting, floor coverings, synthetic wall covering materials and conventional kitchen cabinetry all of which often release VOCs like formaldehyde. Choose non-toxic materials. Did you know that low chemical cabinetry is now included in many manufacturer’s lines?
Since everyone can’t build from scratch or remodel, have a look at your home or apartment with these considerations in mind.
Create a list of ”avoids”. Avoid toxic pest control chemicals and choose minimally toxic alternatives (using electronic rodent control instead of chemical poisons, for example. Substitute green cleaning products for more harmful cleaners. (We were astounded when we discovered what’s lurking in the common household cleaners most of us use that are under your sink right now.)
Think about exhaust ventilation in rooms like kitchens, bathrooms and basements where pollutants concentrate. Use built-in fans, a household air filtration system, or energy efficient, room-by-room clean air filters. Educated buyers will look at wattage use and one top model draws a miserly 10 watts even running at full speed. Put units in your indoor office and in bedrooms and children’s rooms. Consider how often competitive models turn over the air in the room you intend them for. Use kitchen range exhaust fans, laundry room fans and bathroom ventilators regularly.
Have your home tested for radon and if found in significant levels, reduce them with a radon removal piping system.
When possible insulate with non-toxic materials like foam made from magnesium silicate or cork. These aren’t cheap, so an alternative is to use a double wall systems that isolates fiberglass insulation. (You can buy foil backed dry wall as a better barrier to pollutants.)
Household system-wide or individual unit dehumidifiers discourage the growth of molds and microorganisms.
Did you know that clothes dryers and central vacuums de-pressurize a house often causing chimneys and flues to back-draft? Open a small window to correct this and to maximize performance.
Alert: scientists who measure home air quality often find home air that is more toxic then the outdoor air even in polluted major cities. So Americans pay $100 billion a year in related health costs.
Take another look at your home with optimum air quality in mind.
Credits to: Improved Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in an Energy Efficient Demonstration House: Created on March 26th, 2007