Some green homes could be toxic

WASHINGTON – July 18, 2017 – A tightly sealed home can reduce heating/cooling costs and minimize its environmental impact, but stale recirculated air can also cause health problems, some experts say. A few are now warning homeowners to avoid any potential health impact.

“Many homeowners are now having trouble with their more tightly built houses because the homes lack the ventilation necessary to get the stale inside air to the outside of the house and bring fresh air inside,” Remodeling writes.

Bryan Henson, president of Allen Construction in Santa Barbara, Calif., says a house that’s sealed up completely would become a toxic environment to humans.

The World Health Organization estimates that 4.3 million people worldwide die each year from indoor air pollution. Cases of asthma are on the rise, and asthma can be triggered by indoor contaminants such as mold, dust and dander.

More homeowners are questioning their indoor air quality and its impact on their health, sparking a growing interest in the “healthy home” concept. Healthy home systems tend to focus greatly on indoor air quality by providing filtered fresh air into the home.

For healthier air, homeowners need to consider their home’s air flow. In some homes, the air may be pushed down through the attic into the home or come out from a crawlspace through the living area and out the attic. The problem with crawlspaces, building experts note, is that they often contain moisture, soil gases and even rodents and their droppings.

Indoor air space needs to be properly sealed off from the crawlspace and attic, and older homes may need more sealing off because of toxicity, such as lead paint, says Henson.

To help gauge how healthy a home is and find areas worth improvement, homeowners can take a quiz made by Hayward Healthy Home. The Pharos Project lists different products and includes their chemical ingredients and potential hazards to homeowners’ health.

More resources for improving a home’s health and indoor quality include The Healthy Building Network, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Indoor Air Quality Association.

Source: “Breathing Easy: An Introduction to Healthy Homes,” Remodeling

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


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