Did you know that according to the EPA one of the top five leading health risks in the U.S. is indoor air quality? That’s right, it’s the air in our homes!
In my previous blog about “green” flooring and carpeting I mentioned “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs). These carbon-based chemical compounds have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility, which means they evaporate into the air from certain solids or liquids even at normal room temperatures.
Where are they? VOC’s are emitted from many products commonly found in homes — and very likely your home for sale! These list of “off-gassing” sources includes conventional paints, paint strippers, and lacquers, as well as carpeting, flooring, plywood, particleboard, adhesives, cabinets, countertops, insulation, and paneling. VOC’s are also found in oil-based paints and can be a problem in traditional latex-based paints as well.
Something in the Air
Why does it matter? Well, short-term exposure to high levels of some VOCs can cause some pretty unpleasant and unhealthy stuff, like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, nose bleeds, and eye, nose, throat and lung irritation. And recent studies suggest that domestic exposure to formaldehyde (a commonly occurring VOC) significantly increases the risk of asthma in young children. The toxic effects of VOC’s are usually chronic, and prolonged exposure has been linked to kidney and liver disease and even cancer.
Paint It Green
The leading causes of that unhealthy air are the paints, varnishes, and solvents that we are exposed to every day. And since most sellers opt for a fresh coat of paint to attract buyers, that’s an easy fix! One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to help reduce VOCs in your home (for sale) – and improve the air quality – is to paint it “green”. You’ll also be able to turn your freshly painted walls into an important selling feature. So, tune in next time, when I’ll tell you about the many healthy alternative paint options there are to choose from.
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara