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Are Your Home Improvements Harming Your House?

Posted by Ivey on November 5th, 2010

Home ImprovementsIf you are thinking about starting some home improvement projects, a new study released by HealthyStuff.org and conducted by the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Mich. reveals that you might have more to think about than comfort and décor. The study tested 3,300 home improvement products: 1,016 samples of flooring and 2,312 samples of wallpaper. The results are a bit shocking.

Heavy metals and other chemical additives, which include lead, cadmium, flame retardants, tin compounds, and phthalates, were commonly found in residential flooring and wallpaper. In fact, more than half of the flooring samples tested positive for one or more chemical additives. Vinyl flooring was indicated to be the most harmful—containing the highest percentage of detectable lead and being twice as likely to contain hazardous chemicals.

In the case of wallpaper, 96% of samples contained PVC coatings. Furthermore, half of the PVC-wallpaper samples contained one or more hazardous chemical of concern.

The presence of hazardous chemicals in wallpaper and flooring products has the potential to compromise the health of your home, as well as those in it. Of the chemicals identified by the HealthyStuff.org study, many have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity, and cancer.

Luckily, we aren’t all doomed to a wardrobe of Hazmat suits and gas masks. In addition to testing sheet flooring, plastic tile, ceramic tile, and carpet cushion, HealthyStuff.org researchers also tested some PVC-free and green flooring options: linoleum, cork, bamboo, and hardwood. None of these options tested positive for lead, cadmium, mercury, or other hazardous materials.

So, if you are planning to redo your floors, cabinets, or similar areas, consider using one of these healthier alternatives. To avoid the hazards of wallpaper, experts at Natural Home Magazine suggest using a natural clay plaster or even making your own non-toxic paint.

Organic Vapor Test KitIf you are concerned about the current state of your indoor air, you can always check it using one of our convenient testing kits. We offer a do-it-yourself Formaldehyde Test Kit to detect the presence of formaldehyde in your home. We also offer an Organic Vapor Test Kit that helps you identify the presence of a wide range of harmful organic vapors such as Benzene, Toluene, Acetone, Mineral Spirits, Hexane, and Styrene. Both kits contain all of the materials that you will need to conduct a screening for the toxic substances in your home. Once you have collected your sample, simply send it to EDLab using the pre-addressed envelope. All lab fees are included in the price of the kit.

For more in-depth information about the study, check out the HealthyStuff.org findings. You can also take action and urge your representative to support the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act, which would ultimately help consumers stay safe from toxic chemicals in everyday products.

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