Is Your Home Or Office Making You Ill?
For most people, it is the dream of a lifetime to move into a brand new home. Everything looks so fresh and untouched and you look forward to living happily in your new home. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many new home owners. Instead of living happily ever after, they find that moving into a new home can be the start of an entire range of respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions that leave them feeling sick and miserable, and in some cases threatening their health permanently. This is called new building illness, and is more common than most people might think.
What Is New Building Illness And How Does It Affect You?
There are a lot of materials that go into building a home from the ground up. Some of these building materials include particle board, laminated flooring, carpeting, sealants, lacquers, paints, wallpaper and wall paper paste, and then of course the new furniture itself.
All of these materials have the potential to leach chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Because the material in new homes is new, the chemicals these materials give off are at their very strongest and the air in your new home can become filled with these chemicals. Many of them can irritate your skin, cause sinus problems, and interfere with respiratory functions including increasing asthma symptoms. You may feel dizziness, fatigue, and even disorientation.
In some cases, people start feeling the effects of these chemicals almost overnight, but in other cases it may take months before people start feeling these effects. Studies show that it takes about a year of constant airing out in a new home before the levels of chemicals decline enough to actually be considered safe. The more airtight a home is, the higher the levels of these chemicals.
New Homes Aren’t The Only Problem
New homes are not the only buildings that can pose risks to your health. Older homes and even office buildings, schools, or other buildings may cause problems as well. Older buildings that contain either chemical or biological substances that make people ill are known as sick buildings, and what you are experiencing is known as sick building syndrome.
Sick building syndrome can be attributed to a number of things. Some of these things include mold in carpeting or other places, faulty heating and cooling systems, dust particles in the air, and chemicals from toners and other office supplies; the list is pretty endless. The first sign of sick building syndrome is when a large number of people who live or work in the building begin getting sick and have similar symptoms.
What Can Be Done About New Building Illness and Sick Building Syndrome
To reduce the effects of new building illness, the building needs to have fresh air allowed in to help reduce the amount of chemicals in the air. Opening windows daily, or at least several times a week, can help to weaken the strength of the chemicals in the air. Paints, flooring, furniture, and other building materials can be chosen based on the amounts of chemicals used in their manufacturing. Many companies are catering to the emerging crowd of consumers who are concerned about indoor chemical toxicity by manufacturing products with low levels of VOC’s. New furnishings can be left outdoors for a few days to allow them to leach some of their chemicals before they become a permanent fixture indoors. Using air purifiers with large amounts of activated carbon can help to soak up many of these chemicals floating around your indoor environment.
In the case of sick building syndrome, an inspection should be done by professionals, and the source or sources of the contaminants identified should be removed. Sick buildings can also benefit from air purifiers that use activated carbon in order to soak up the contaminants that are making people ill.
Studies show that using HEPA air purifiers containing activated carbon can significantly reduce pollutants in the air from chemicals, volatile organic compounds, pet dander, mold spores, and many other substances, resulting in cleaner breathing air and better health whether your home is old or new.
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