Your home is supposed to be your refuge from the stresses of the outside world. It should promote health and wellbeing of the occupants and visitors. It can be surprising to learn that our homes can be a major source of pollutants and toxins in the air we breathe every day. Poor indoor air has been associated with asthma, headaches, nausea, allergies and other illnesses. In fact, it's not unusual for the air quality inside the home to be worse than it is outside. The EPA has deemed indoor air quality one of the top five environmental health risks the U.S. faces today. Indoor air pollution can be caused by
- Improper ventilation
- Building materials, finishes and furnishings that contain carcinogenic chemicals, formaldehyde fumes, solvents and VOC’s
- Poor design and construction of the home, leading to unhealthy mold and mildew, radon exposure, lead, asbestos and combustion gases.
Many commonly used products, such as paints and adhesives, emit a variety of harmful chemicals into the air for months after they have been applied. These chemicals, collectively termed volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), can have a negative impact on indoor air quality and public health. While VOC’s were once necessary for good performance in many products, most companies now produce cost-effective low or non-VOC replacements. Products that may emit VOC’s include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Paints, paint thinners, solvents
- Wood preservatives and finishes
- Caulks, sealants and adhesives
- Aerosol sprays, cleaners and disinfectants
- Synthetic carpets and upholstery /vinyl flooring
- Formaldehyde in particle board products used in cabinets
At Gary Rosard Architect, we endeavor to design and specify systems and products that will limit exposure to indoor air pollutants, providing a safe and healthy environment in your home.