Saturday, August 28, 2010

Could your house be killing you?

Has anyone else become paranoid about mould in their home following the news that actress Brittany Murphy and her husband died from pneumonia possibly caused by the fungus and mould growing in their LA home?

If the walls of your home could talk, they would say: "you have gas", "you have mould" and "you are a dead man walking".

Gasses are going off in our homes, creating indoor air pollution that can be more damaging than the air we breathe outdoors. The World Health Organisation believes indoor air pollution is one of the top 10 risks for the global disease.

There could be radioactive radon leaching out of your granite kitchen benchtops. There may be cancer-causing formaldehyde or benzene oozing out of MDF, particle board and laminate furniture. And let's not forget the paint on those walls - most hard-wearing acrylic paints off-gas VOCs (that's Volatile Organic Compounds) which can irritate asthma sufferers.

Who asked gas to start partying in our homes? Not me. Those gasses, and their good friends particulant, pollutant and chemical, just walked on in uninvited. There we were, minding our own business and hiding out in nice homes, only to discover that it's not smells, stinks or sanitation we need to worry about -- it's the materials we bring in to our homes that pollute!

CSIRO consultant Steve Brown says many homes are now built with minimal ventilation to keep out the outdoor air, which is wrongly perceived as polluted and bad. He says stale indoor air combined with off-gassing materials creates health risks.

"In America, some homes are so closed up that if someone farts, they say everyone in the house suffers for days," he says.

What's that noise? Oh, it must be the sound of my gasping.

I heat my home with an unflued gas heater which not only pollutes my house with carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and formaldehyde but also creates moisture which turns into mould spores that I breathe in and ...

... pardon me ...

... must. get. fresh. air...

Apparently natural ventilation is one of the best solutions to indoor air pollution. Leaving a window open to air your home - like Grandma did in the good ol' days - is something Ecospecifier founder David Baggs recommends as part of a regular housekeeping routine.

Other ways to beat your home's noxious gas party are:
* clean with plant-based cleaning chemicals rather than synthetic products;
* check the radon count on any granite or natural stone products, even the New York Times has reported increased problems with kitchen counters.
* grow indoor plants, which are nature's air filters;
* avoid buying furnishings, curtains, kitchen cabinets, floor coverings and paint finishes that contain indoor air pollutants.

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1 comment:

Thanks for taking the time to chat!

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