By Nikki Nau
Your home is your haven.
It is one’s place of residence and the social unit formed by a family living together.
It becomes a familiar or usual setting, a congenial environment, and the focus of one’s domestic attention.
You feel relaxed and comfortable, in harmony with the surroundings, and on familiar ground in your home.
These descriptions from Merriam-Webster dictionary reflect what many of us experience, or hope to experience, in our homes. We know that home is so much more than the place we live. It is where we gather and spend time with family and friends. At home, we relax and let down guards constructed as we cope with the demands of our day. We rest and sleep here to release the stress of the day and to rejuvenate our bodies, minds, and spirit.
Your home should be your haven, and it should also be a healthy space. The indoor environment of your home directly impacts your health and peace of mind. When you are investing in home repairs or remodeling projects, take a moment to think through the myriad of building supply options. Making informed decisions about the materials and products you bring into your home can contribute to a healthy indoor environment for you and your family.
Healthy Living – Healthy Home
While working on remodeling projects for over 20 years, my husband and I continually research building products and practices that keep homes free of toxic chemicals, materials, and influences. Unfortunately, there are many products on the market that are harmful to your health. Here are five common choices you can make to avoid toxins in your home.
1. Choose water-based paint versus oil based paint
There is a common myth upheld that oil-based paint and finishes are superior to water-based finishes. While several years ago this may have been true, results from in-field product testing reveal many water-based finishes that perform just as well as oil-based products. The drawback of using oil is the outgassing from carcinogenic and irritating volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some oil product odors remain in a closed home for months after application; therefore continually exposing inhabitant toxins. This chemical exposure is especially risky for children, the elderly, and anyone with chemical sensitivity or a compromised immune system.
2. Choose floor covering with low or no VOC
Carpet and vinyl flooring are the worst offenders of VOC exposure in your home. Find out what is in your carpet and carpet pad before you install it. Carpet installation can bring a flood of toxic chemicals into your home. Vinyl is synthetic resin or plastic consisting of polyvinyl chloride or a related polymer – a mixture of chemicals and colorants. Outgassing (VOCs emitted over time) can occur for a few days to several weeks.
Greenguard Certification is a third-party certifier that can help buyers identify interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions. They have a full database of products and manufacturers who meet the Greenguard standards.
3. Avoid formaldehyde adhesives
Do research and find out what glues are used in furniture, cabinetry, and subfloor products before you purchase them. You should be able to obtain this information from the product manufacturers. If you can’t find that information then you may want to steer away from them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “At low levels, breathing in formaldehyde can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. At higher levels, formaldehyde exposure can cause skin rashes, shortness of breath, wheezing and changes in lung function. Children, the elderly and people with asthma or other breathing problems may be more sensitive to the effects of formaldehyde.”
4. Think twice about using smart home devices
SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis And Reporting Technology) home technology uses Internet-connected devices to remotely manage and monitor systems and appliances like lights, fans, thermostats, and locks. Currently, the long-term effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) are unknown. However, research is showing, EMR and EMF (electromagnetic frequency) affect the health of human beings.
Read Elana Amsterdam’s testimony of her new home’s wireless technology aggravating her multiple sclerosis. The Green Home that Almost Killed Me
Discerning the best use of technology is a challenge we all face today. I try to determine the best use of technology with questions like:
- How does using this technology make me a more balanced individual?
- Does the use of this technology help me to get my essential work done, or does the technology become a distraction in my work?
- How can the technology bring the task at hand to a more efficient or more elevated use?
While it can be difficult to answer these questions, the primary objective is to think ‘why’ before adopting a technology rather than using it just because everyone else is.
As you strive to create a harmonious home, consider making an EMF/ EMR free zone and contribute to the well-being of your family.
Here are easy steps to take to reduce EMF/ RF exposure in your home and to create a sleep sanctuary.
5. Air duct cleaning removes contaminants
After completing any remodeling project, get your ductwork cleaned. Regardless of how well you prepare and separate a remodeled space from the rest your home, the dust gets everywhere. Cleaning your ductwork after the project is complete prevents allergens and contaminants from circulating in your home.
Create Healthy Living in a Harmonious Home
In general, ask a lot of questions. Make sure you understand the entire process of the remodeling project from beginning to end, including safety measures taken. Do your research on the products you are using. And work with professionals who share your values and concerns.
Toxic Free is Only Part of Healthy Home
In my experience, a healthy home is a place where:
- People’s emotional well-being is honored
- People are respected and loved
- The indoor environment is free of toxic chemicals, materials, and influences
- The shelter itself is durable, safe, and sound
Other articles on our site discuss these aspects of a healthy home. We invite you to take a look.