New house, new furniture, new rugs, new paint… Everything seems fresh and clean – except your indoor air. The smell of “new” can be harmful to you and your family’s health.
New flooring, rugs, and adhesives often contain harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs have a higher vapor pressure at room temperature and become airborne. They can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, and frequent headaches. Long-term exposure is more serious and can damage the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system. Health effects ultimately depend on length of exposure and concentrations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that many VOCs are found in higher concentrations indoors than outdoors (up to ten times higher).
Freshly painted walls look beautiful, but their fumes also release toxic and harmful chemicals into the air. Proper ventilation should be your first defense against paint fumes. However, even when the odors seem to leave your room or house, lingering microscopic particles still remain. These can be especially harmful to babies, young children, and pregnant women.
Caulks and other sealants may include components – intended to improve flexibility of the product – which also release harmful VOCs inside your home. It is important to be aware of the products used by your builder, although you may not have much control over these options. Nonetheless, you can be prepared once you move into your home.
Even if you’re redecorating or remodeling your home, consider the quality of your indoor air. Too often we forget about the environment where we spend most of our time.
According to the EPA and other sources, we spend nearly 90% of our lives indoors. It’s important to ensure that moving or remodeling doesn’t negatively impact your health.