Green Building Materials: Avoid Indoor Air Pollution

Why use green building materials, low VOC, no VOC and non-toxic products when constructing a home?

Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors, so what you breathe indoors may be more, if not at least as important, as what you breathe outside.

Pollutants both indoors and outdoors have become a growing concern for many people who want to lessen the toxic load on their bodies in order to live healthier.

Reasons to Use Certified Green Building Materials

Simply put, many conventional construction materials are quite toxic.

Did you know that toxic building materials are the second highest offender when it comes to outdoor pollution in Los Angeles?

Just think then, how much more toxic these materials are when they are used indoors where there is even less air circulation.

Volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs, offgas or emit toxic fumes into the air.

The fumes are generally a concentrate of petrochemical pollutants that waft into the air for various periods of times, depending on the type of material.

Unfortunately, homeowners routinely breathe VOCs while living in their houses.

Homes that are built to be well sealed for energy efficiency can build up a VOC overload of chemicals throughout the home. This chemical vapor is continually breathed by the occupants.

Houses built after the ’70’s are especially air tight to conserve heat and cool air but unfortunately also trap dangerous VOCs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor pollutants can be as much as five times higher when used inside rather than outside.

Common Toxic VOC Building Materials

VOCs are then recirculated throughout the air flow system over and over again. Common toxic VOC building materials used in most contemporary homes include:

  • Synthetic carpet
  • Particle board and plywood
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Paints and primers
  • Glues or adhesives
  • Insulation
  • Spackling for wall board
  • Plastic products

This is only a short list of potentially toxic house building products that can emit harmful fumes into indoor air. There are many hidden chemicals in much of the synthetic building supplies that are commonly on the market today.

Health Symptoms Associated with Toxic Exposure

Many modern homeowners have experienced health problems as a result of being exposed to various levels of toxicity from indoor pollution.

Symptoms such as dizziness, muscle aches, headaches, sneezing, runny eyes and nose, respiratory issues, skin rashes and various other allergy symptoms are all common to those who react to chemical laced construction materials.

Long term exposure to indoor pollutants has been linked to cancer, hormonal issues and harmful effects on the nervous system.

The dangers of poor indoor air quality has become more apparent as more and more homeowners have experience negative health problems.

Consumer demand for low VOC and green building materials has increased as people have become more aware of the dangers associated with toxic housing.

Consumers Opt for Safe Green Building Materials

This has spurred many companies to develop low VOC paints, glues, sealers, natural flooring, insulation and a whole host of other non toxic products for the house that make nit possible for just about anyone to build a nontoxic house or less toxic dwelling.

Some all natural materials and low VOC building supplies can now be found at your local hardware store or building supply chain such as Lowe’s or Home Depot for example.

Green Companies Offer Healthy Alternatives

There are other manufacturers such as the AFM Company that exclusively offers green building materials for those who are committed to building a healthy house.

As the demand grows for non toxic products, the price continues to drop. In the past, building a non toxic, chemical free house cost approximately 10% to 17% more than a typical house might cost.

You Can Go Green and Live Well

Today, you can build a safe, healthy house for very near the cost of a typical house built with traditional materials, depending on your needs.

For more information about building or remodeling a house with low VOC and green building materials, we recommend that you read the Healthy House by John Bowers of the Healthy House Institute or contact us for more information.

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