The real push for eco-friendly design actually started in Europe about 30 years ago in studies done on “sick building syndrome” or Bau-biology. Sick building syndrome is caused by our vacuum sealed, no ventilation buildings that are filled with products (paint, carpet, furniture, cleaners…) that are emitting toxins and poisons into our air. Frequent migraines, fatigue, upper respiratory ailments and sore throats are only a few of the symptoms of SBS (sick building syndrome). Bau-biology is the study of design and construction of homes that fulfill all health/holistic requirements. They are spaces that are built with natural materials, utilize natural light, and avoid the effects of EMFs and uses energy and resource efficient systems. If you need some more reasons to “go au naturale” here they are:
- Increase the health of all living occupants of the space (kids, pets, elderly, you…) by improving indoor air quality, reducing chemicals/toxins, increase water quality and mental health as you reduce stress and anxiety by becoming more “connected” with nature.
- You will be following the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle); however, I’d like to add 1 more as Re-think! As you become more informed of all available choices, you will see how easy it is to decorate your home in a healthy and fashionable way!
OK DeAnna, you say, you’ve convinced me! But how do I start?
- Use natural hygiene products and cleaners-these are chemicals that when made pollute the environment, our homes and our bodies.
- Go organic when possible-food (buy local and in season), clothing (man-made fibers are petroleum based and also include formaldehyde (new smell)) and linens.
- No VOC paints and finishes. All major paint manufacturers now make low or no VOC paint. Sherwin Williams has “Harmony” and Pratt & Lambert have Comfort Care in their lines. You must ask for it though! VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are the chemicals and toxins used to inhibit mold and quicken dry time, or “that new paint smell”. Make the smart choice.
- Eliminate plastics and vinyls from your home. Studies have shown that PVC also off-gas like VOC and have been shown to cause certain types of cancers. Yes, this includes your shower curtain!
- Beware of what candles you buy! Candles are a leading cause of indoor air pollution (which studies have shown to be worse than outdoor air). The big offender here is the wick. Wicks in most inexpensive candles are made with lead.