Protecting ourselves and our family from COVID and other contagious diseases is job #1 these days. To keep from getting sick, we retreat into our homes. But is your home environment as good for our health as it could be?
These days it seems health dangers lurk everywhere, for example, the indoor air pollution from gas stoves, which has become a hot topic in the news as of late. But small steps can clean up your home’s act and is a doable 2023 resolution. Start with considering how toxic your house is, as suggested by Editor Laurie Mazur of Island Press Urban Resilience Project. Mazur points out that chemicals lurk in our carpet, paint, fabrics and walls. The unhealthy fact is that hazardous chemicals are abundant in building materials.
“That new carpet smell wafting up from your wall-to-wall may contain more than 40 known chemical hazards, including compounds that have been shown to cause respiratory disease, heart attacks, cancer, and asthma; others are neurotoxins and endocrine interrupters that can impair children’s development,” writes Mazur in Medium.com. Children are especially at risk.
While building manufacturers aren’t required to label product ingredients, Mazur says that is beginning to change and healthier and affordable options are becoming more available. Listed further below is her useful list of resources to help consumers find healthier materials.
But first, consider simple steps you can take to keep out germs and other unhealthy substances that enter your house regularly. Here are our top picks of the extensive list compiled by the team at This Old House, who talked with experts across the country.
- Entry-way mats: Put them on both sides of the door. What could be more logical? Up to 80% of the dirt, pollen, bacteria and lawn chemicals can be caught on a simple door mat, especially when there is one on each side of your entryway.
- Stall the seemingly year-round hay fever season. It’s time to keep pollen out of your house by shaking or brushing off your coats, boots and hats and cleaning your pets’ fur
- Sanitize door knobs, toys, and smartphones, just like you did during the early days of the pandemic. You don’t have to rely on wipes, you can eliminate the extra waste with a handheld germ blaster UV-C sanitizing wand. Yes, progress is good.
- Stop using moth balls. Store clean silks and woolens in zip-up bags. Buy cedar chips from a pet store, and make your own sachets by wrapping them in cheesecloth.
And here’s the promised list of healthy home resources from Editor Laurie Mazur of Island Press Urban Resilience Project list:
Healthy Building Network supports the healthy materials movement with data and education. Their newest platform, HomeFree, supports affordable housing leaders who are improving human health through the selection of healthier products. Visit: healthybuilding.net.
Home Guide, produced by the Environmental Working Group, guides consumers to choose healthier materials for their home. For example, Home Guide advises against wall-to-wall carpeting, explaining that various components can invoke eye irritation and rashes, and more. Visit: ewg.org/healthyhomeguide.
Housing Partnership Network offers Select, which leverages the collective purchasing power of 200,000+ affordable housing units to negotiate competitive pricing on a broad array of products.
Seize the day and make 2023 the year for improving your home’s health. Read the full list of simple steps to make your home healthier at www.thisoldhouse.com/green-home/21018002/72-easy-upgrades-for-a-healthier-home. Choose building materials to get your home on a healthy track with the resources at medium.com/@UrbanResilience/new-resources-for-healthier-homes-969ea188ae0b.
For local healthy resources, visit Colorado Green Building Guild at: cgbg.org
By Tom Kalinski is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the residential real estate company he established in 1977. He has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, email
Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620, or visit boulderco.com.