Outdoor Air Quality Regulations say how much pollution is acceptable Indoor Air Quality Not regulated
Indoor Air Quality Pollution inside the typical American home is 2 to 5 times worse than air outdoors Indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 most- serious environmental risks to public health 50% of all illnesses can be traced back to the home
The average American spends between 80-90% of their time indoors… 65% of the time is spent at home.
An Ordinary House A Chemical House TVs & Computers Personal Care/Cosmetics Cleaning Products & Pesticides Flooring Furniture Carpeting Furniture Automobile
A Chemical House = Building Related/Sick Building Syndrome Eye irritation Headache Upper respiratory Irritation Nausea, dizziness Fatigue, lethargy Sore/dry throat Odor Memory impairment
Things We’ll Take A Closer Look At… Household cleaning products Pesticides Vinyl Formaldehyde Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Mercury Mold
Current Use of Chemical-based Cleaning Products The average American household uses 40 lbs of chemicals each year The average household stores more than 60 hazardous products Household Cleaning Products
Household Cleaning Products Health Concerns Consumer Product Safety Commission links 150 commonly used household chemicals to allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological disorders EPA report: toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than air pollution Within 26 seconds after exposure, traces of these chemicals can be found in every organ in the body The greatest # of poisonings are from cleaning substances and 64% of the victims are under the age of 6
Health Effects from Cleaning Products Manufacturers are not required to disclose full review for cleaning products Manufacturers are exempt from full labeling of cleaning products Chemicals/Ingredients determine the Health Risks
Human research has shown: Children born into households using toxic cleaning products are twice as likely to have wheezing (early stage of asthma) Over the last 20-30 years, the level of toxins stored in adipose tissue (fat cells) of our bodies have risen. Greater amounts are being stored at younger age, causing diseases to occur more frequently and at younger ages.
Environmental studies have shown: A 2003 study by the U.S. Geological Survey found low levels of household chemical compounds – including antibiotics, synthetic hormones, insect repellent, and an array of household cleaners – in 139 streams and rivers downstream from urban areas. Of the 95 chemicals found, 33 are known or suspected to be hormonally active; 46 are pharmaceutically active.
Steps to Reduce Exposure to Synthetic Cleaning Products Use the least toxic product that will work for your project Make homemade alternative cleaning products using baking soda, vinegar, and soap Provide adequate ventilation Keep out of reach of children and pets
Pesticides Are used inside and outside the home Can be tracked into the home from outside
Health Concerns of Pesticides A child in a household using home and garden pesticides has a 6.5 higher risk of developing leukemia. Neurotoxins Irritants Carcinogens Mutagens Endocrine disruptors Health Effects of Pesticides
Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Pesticides When you apply pesticides, you are treating the symptom, rather than the cause of pest problem Control pests without chemicals by using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques Physical controls Cultural controls Biological controls Least toxic pest control
Safe Use and Disposal of Pesticides The best products for the environment and your health are less toxic and less persistent Dispose of unwanted pesticides through the Household Hazardous Waste Program
Have you looked inside your closet lately? How do you wash your clothes?
Dry Cleaning In 1993 the CA Air Resources Board designated perchloroethylene (PERC) as a toxic air contaminant. Studies have linked it to groundwater pollution, cancer, and various reproductive problems. If you dry clean traditional way: –Air clothes prior to placing in closet or wearing Alternative Choice: -Hydrocarbon solvent -Wet cleaning
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or ‘vinyl’) One of the most common synthetic materials Over 14 billion pounds of PVC are currently produced per year in North America. Approximately 75% of all PVC manufactured is used in construction materials.
Where is PVC used? Pipes and conduit Siding Roof membranes Door and window frames Resilient flooring Carpet backing Signage Water proofing Window treatments Furniture Wire Cable sheating Electrical connectors Toys
PVC Health Concerns Releases phthalates Contain organotins = Cancer, endocrine disruption, birth defects, neurological, reproductive & immune system damage
Steps to Reduce PVC Exposure Buy PVC-free products Provide adequate ventilation
Formaldehyde A pungent, colorless, toxic, water-soluble gas. Used as a disinfectant and preservative, and in the manufacture of synthetic resins, dyes and plastics.
Sources of Formaldehyde inside the home Building materials –Pressed wood products Particleboard Hardwood plywood paneling Medium density fiberboard Smoking Household products Un-vented, fuel- burning appliances Manufactured products –Permanent press qualities to clothing and drapery –Component of glues and adhesives –Preservative in paints
Formaldehyde Health Concerns Watery eyes Burning sensation in the eyes and throat Nausea Difficulty breathing Shown to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans Eyes, nose, and throat irritation Wheezing and coughing Fatigue Skin rash Allergic reactions
Steps to Reduce Formaldehyde Exposure Use “exterior-grade” pressed wood products Provide adequate ventilation Maintain moderate temperature and humidity levels Use materials not containing formaldehyde
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE) Used to slow fires in upholstered furniture and consumer electronics Health Effects Endocrine disruptors Long-term exposure can generate a several point drop in IQ in human children Reduce Exposure of PBDE Buy PBDE free products
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) VOCs are compounds that are volatile and evaporate readily to become an inhalation hazard Most VOCs are petroleum based compounds used and produced in manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants.
Why VOC’s are bad… Difficult to clean brushes –Another waste is created i.e. solvent Flammable Effect Air Quality
VOC Health Effects Eye, nose, and throat irritation Headaches Loss of coordination Nausea Damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.
VOC Levels in Homes Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.
Steps to Reduce VOC Exposure Use household products according to manufacturer’s directions Provide plenty of fresh air when using product containing VOC Dispose of unused or little-used containers safely Buy correct quantity Keep out of reach of children and pets Never mix household care products unless directed on label
Mercury – What is it? Natural occurring metal that has several forms. Metallic mercury is shiny, silver- white, odorless liquid. If heated it becomes a colorless, odorless gas. Mercury in the Environment Inorganic mercury enters the air from mining ore deposits, burning coal and waste, and from manufacturing plants. Entry into soil is from natural deposits, disposal of wastes and volcanic activity.
Mercury Sources Lighting –Fluorescent –HID –Mercury Vapor Other –Thermostat
Health Concerns Mercury is released only when source is broken
Reduce Exposure to Mercury Handle source carefully to prevent breakage Dispose Properly
Mold Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants.
Health Effects Allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints
Steps to Reduce Exposure to Mold There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment If mold is a problem, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture Fix the source of the problem Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) Prevent condensation Do not install carpet in areas of perpetual moisture problems Improve ventilation
Additional Strategies Change AC or furnace filter regularly Allow ventilation Clean frequently –Reduce dust –Prevent mold growth
IAQ Objective: Achieve Air Quality that contributes to a favorable, productive environment and enables building occupants to experience a sense of comfort and well-being.
Benefits of a ‘Green’ Home Less toxicity exposure Safe for everyone Environmentally friendly Improved health
How do you make your home Healthy? Educate Yourself Investigate and research Make lifestyle change –Don’t buy products made of PVC –Use natural forms of pest control –Use less toxic cleaning products –Buy curtains, carpets, furniture or electronics free of PBDEs –Choose products free of suspect chemicals
Resources: Indoor Air Quality San Mateo County: www.RecycleWorks.orgwww.RecycleWorks.org EPA: www.epa.gov/iaqwww.epa.gov/iaq American Lung Association: www.lungusa.org/air/air_indoor www.lungusa.org/air/air_indoor Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program: www.flowtobay.org www.flowtobay.org
Rest easier knowing your home is safer for your inhabitants…
And you are protecting the Environment from further air and water contamination!
Dianne Anderson Green Building Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org 650-599-1485 Susan Hiestand Hazardous Materials Specialist email@example.com 650-599-1514 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com