Tips for A Happier (And Safer!) Home Improvement Project
June 17, 2014
By Gigi Lee Chang
Home improvement is a big business. The majority of homeowners roaming the aisles at big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s weekend after weekend don’t know that their DIY projects have the potential to inflict real harm on themselves and their families. That’s why we’ve devoted our brand new free downloadable e-book to this very topic.
Introducing Easy Steps to Healthy Home Improvement:
We’ve scanned the latest research and have got you covered—from the environmental testing you need to perform before you start any work, to how to keep potentially harmful construction dust to a minimum, to the safest stains and sealants to use to complete your upgrades. We have advice on what to do if your pre-project testing reveals the worst toxic offenders like lead, asbestos, and radon, and how to proceed if you run into mold. We even have thoughts on whether you should just say no to your project as well as details on when you need a store bought test vs. when you have to hire an expert. If you rent or own a co-op or a condo, there’s information specifically for you, too, taking into account that you won’t typically have the same level of control over the work. Every bit of advice in Easy Steps to Healthy Home Improvement considers your family’s health and the toxicity of the materials—from wall board to carpet to paint—you’re either disturbing or adding as you fix up bathroom cabinets, replace a kitchen floor, or turn a basement into a playroom.
Want to lear more? Download the e-book for more information plus resources. Then put on your respirator and get back to your hammering!
A Cheat Sheet of the Worst Offenders
If your home was built before 1978, changes are high it contains lead, a potent neurotoxin. The CDC says lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. It’s particularly harmful for children.
Test for it in: paint, pipes, porcelain bathtubs, tile.
Demolition dust is a potentially hazardous chemical cocktail. It doesn’t even have to contain toxic materials to be dangerous; exposure to tiny dust particles have been linked to irregular heartbeat, asthma, decreased lung function, and other respiratory issues.
Protect from it: Seal of f work spaces with plastic sheeting, use a HEPA filter and wet wipes with a detergent solution to clean, wear a respirator while working.
This carcinogenic mineral linked to lung disease including cancer can be found all over a home.
Test for it in: pipe wraps and insulation, vinyl flooring and wallpaper, roof tiles, fireproofing material, and more.
This odorless, colorless radioactive gas linked to lung cancer is produced by the decay of natural uranium found in most soils.
Test for it: Radon typically comes into homes via foundation cracks, construction joints, utility entrances, and other openings. Test in your basement.