GREEN building can come at a higher cost INITIALLY as finding products and vendors that offer no VOC products can be a challenge-although it’s getting easier! In fact, the reason it is “cheaper” to not be GREEN is due to the usage of chemicals due to the high usage of these toxins. Also of note is that due to higher energy efficiency, construction and increased quality of life can make going GREEN cost effective in the long run.
Want to reduce VOCs in your home? Look at this list of these VOC-friendly products to see how many you have in your home and look for alternatives:
v Composite Wood Products-MDF and particle board are at the top of the list. ALWAYS wear a respirator when working with and/or installing these products and have good ventilation.
v Carpeting-this has been discussed in previous articles. Go with hard surfaces for flooring or natural fibers in the carpet and padding!
v Paints, Caulks and Adhesives-this has also been discussed in previous articles. When purchasing these products look for WATER-BASED solvents. If you don’t see a product listed as no VOC-ASK.
v As discussed last week, carbon monoxide is an odor-less killer and of major concern in the basement-but do you know the two primary causes of carbon monoxide? Cars and cigarettes. If your garage is attached to or located underneath your home, CM can make its way up into the house. Check to see if there are any drafts entering your home from the garage-if there are, stop them. And always have the overhead garage door open if your car is running.
v Mattresses with synthetic or chemical-based foam. Mattresses can be found made of latex rubber (REALLY comfortable) and wool/cotton. They may cost more, but you will have a healthier night’s sleep!
v Nylon furnishings or furniture made of MDF or particle board. Always check to see what your furniture is made of before purchasing. Also-if you add any type of “stain guard” you are spraying on toxins that will add another layer of toxins onto the furniture.
v Household cleansers, unless you make them or they are eco-friendly, will be high in chemicals. These will affect not only human family members, but family pets as well.
Lastly, if you are worried about VOCs in your space, or have unexplained health issues, there are several indoor air quality tests available. Another tip is to have an efficient ventilation system in the bathroom(s) and kitchen. Check out the EPA’s website on indoor air quality for more info.