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8 Ways to Create a Healthier, Greener Home by ProQuest

VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 3

The state of the air in your home might not be as obvious as the dirt in your bathtub, but it can be much more dangerous to your family's health. For instance, the air ducts used by your furnace or air conditioner can contain dust, pollen, bacteria and even mold. And that contaminated air is circulated throughout your home, day after day. Fortunately, it's relatively inexpensive to hire a company to clean your ducts. Open the windows or create other opportunities for fresh air exchange on an ongoing basis. Plumbing traps need to have proper venting to prevent sewer gas. And gas appliances and woodstoves shouldn't be drawing on indoor air. Green up your home with house plants, which have been proven by NASA to purify the air. (See the Buying a Sustainable Home column in our July/ August 2009 issue.)A healthy, green home will reduce its occupants' exposure to chemicals (such as formaldehyde in insulation and particleboard; volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in adhesives, sealants and paints; and pesticides, fungicides and heavy metals used to treat wood) through use of non-toxic building materials and products. So if it's time to freshen up a room, be sure you're not making it more toxic instead. As paint is applied to a surface and begins to dry, the VOCs in the paint are escaping into the air and may continue to off-gas at low levels for years after application. So be sure to choose carefully. Most major paint manufacturers offer low- VOC paints, and these are much healthier than standard paint, although they can still off-gas VOCs and generate a tell-tale odor. Fortunately, paint manufacturers are now beginning to offer zero- VOC paints, although they are more expensive, harder to find, and available in a limited number of colors. (See the natural design column in our November/December 2009 issue.)

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									8 a Healthier,        Ways to Create

Greener Home
                                                         2 Green Your Bedroom
                                                                  Sheets that have permanent press finishes typically contain formal-
                                                         dehyde, a known carcinogen, which becomes a gas at room temperature.
                                                         Since you spend so much time in bed, consider staying away from permanent
                                                         press fabrics, and buy organic cotton sheets or those made from alternative
                                                         fabrics like hemp or bamboo. Mattresses made from polyurethane foam
                                                         (“memory foam”) also contain and off-gas a variety of toxic chemicals, in-
                                                         cluding – in some cases – fire retardants. So, again, choose certified organic


1Breathe Easier
         The state of the air in your home might
                                                         mattresses or futons. (See the Ask Natural Life column in our May/June
                                                         2010 issue.)


not be as obvious as the dirt in your bathtub, but it
can be much more dangerous to your family’s
health. For instance, the air ducts used by your
furnace or air conditioner can contain dust, pol-
                                                         3 Use Non-Toxic Cleaners
                                                                   Some laundry detergents have more than four hun-
                                                         dred ingredients, which the manufacturer doesn’t have to
len, bacteria and even mold. And that contami-
                                                         list on the box. These products contain some exceedingly
nated air is circulated throughout your home, day
                                                         nasty ingredients and they’re tested by the manufacturers,
after day. Fortunately, it’s relatively inexpensive
                                                         not the government, prior to being unleashed into our
to hire a company to clean your ducts. Open the
                                                         homes. There are known health effects from many of the
windows or create other opportunities for fresh
                                                         chemicals commonly used in household cleaning and laun-
air exchange on an ongoing basis. Plumbing traps
                                                         dry products. Animal studies have shown reproductive
need to have proper venting to prevent sewer gas.
                                                         harm – testicular damage, reduced fertility, maternal toxic-
And gas appliances and woodstoves shouldn’t be
                                                         ity, early embryonic death and birth defects. Some of the in-
drawing on indoor air. Green up your home with
                                                         gredients are proven carcinogens. Making your own is greener and
house plants, which have been proven by NASA
                                                         cheaper...and not difficult. Baking soda, vinegar, and some elbow gre
								
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