Research shows that the homes of many kids with leukemia have high rates of formaldehyde.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), formaldehyde, which is found in furniture and laminates, is carcinogenic. What’s more, radon is found in granite, and after long-term exposure, it increases the risk of lung cancer. Some polishes, meanwhile, can cause vomiting, fatigue, and period irregularity. While selecting the furniture you will spend a lot of your time among, consider these tips.
Furniture: Whether you buy it from a shop or have it made by a carpenter, you have the right to know the materials used in your furniture. Try to prefer furniture that uses natural weaving, filling, and wood. The adhesives used to produce hardboards and medium-density fiberboards contain a lot of formaldehyde. The standards in different regions differ, but try to follow the European E standards or the US’s EPA standards. If furniture is painted, the paint should have minimal lead in it. You can also ask if your furniture has been fireproof treated with halogens.
Wallpaper: There are four types of wallpapers. Natural wallpapers, although more expensive and harder to hang, consist of wicker, mushroom, and paper fibers, and are healthier. Textile wallpapers are made from natural (e.g., cotton, linen, silk, etc.) or synthetic fibers (e.g., polyester, acrylic, viscose, etc.). You may prefer the natural ones, because they have lovely patterns and add a natural vibe. Vinyl wallpapers are not healthy, and many are dangerous, so try to avoid them. Paper-based wallpapers have poor resistance to dampness.
Laminate parquet: The production cost decreases as the formaldehyde percentage increases. Look at the standards followed. Pick ones that conform to Europe E or American EPA standards. The WHO suggests that laminate parquets that do not contain formaldehyde use the Blue Angel label. Ask what the percentage of the wood is. It usually ranges between 40% and 80%, and the higher the percentage of wood, the healthier your parquet is.
Granite: Ask if granite is radiation-free and has passed radiation tests. The measurement unit is Becquerel (Bq), and your granite shouldn’t be over 30 Bq. It has been found that red, pink and purple granites have more radon in them. Try to stay away from red Balmoral stone, because the radon gas it spreads does not dissipate but rather builds up and radiates alpha particles. Radon gas is the number-one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Marble: The chemical composition of marble features large amounts of calcium carbonate and lower amounts of magnesium carbonate and silicon dioxide, as well as different metal oxides as pigmentation. It is much healthier than granite, but go for local marble.
Quartz: If it’s 95%-98% quartz crystals, it may be called a stone. There no known carcinogenic effects yet.
Laminate surfaces: The last place laminate should be is on kitchen counters because of all the adhesives in it. It is also flammable and easily scratched.
Carpet: Experts in the respiratory tract say that carpets present a huge risk for cancer development. They also say that the underlay materials beneath carpets include asbestos, which when touched, increases the risk of mesothelioma cancer.
Paints: Paints include a variety of chemicals. You should at least pick a water-based paint. Try not to use too many chemicals. In baby rooms, you may prefer to choose a natural wallpaper rather than paint the walls.
Energy-saving bulbs: Israeli and German Scientists have found that energy-saving light bulbs decrease production of the melatonin hormone, which protects from some breast and prostate cancers. The melatonin hormone is produced in the evenings, but energy-saving bulbs decrease production of this hormone. These bulbs may also cause heart disease, diabetes, immune system disorders, and osteoporosis. The lead and mercury in them is also thought to be dangerous. Choose LED light bulbs instead.
PVC (vinyl): Made with mercury, lead, dioxin, cadmium, and hydrochloric acid, polyvinyl chloride is a carcinogenic substance. Even recycling is not possible, so it is a pollutant. Avoid it as much as possible. The best material for windows is wood, and sure, more air passes through and there is a risk of greater energy use, but it is also a form of natural ventilation. PVC windows cause air pollution and unhealthy homes.
Textiles: For thousands of years, we used natural wool, linen, cotton, and silk. With an increasing population and decreasing natural resources, we created synthetic fibers like nylon, acrylic, polyester, and vinyl. The most harmful is vinyl. You may often see it on public seating. Try to prefer the magnificent four natural fibers instead.
To minimize the effects of toxins:
- Pick materials that are as natural as possible.
- Before and after you move into a new home, ventilate it as much as possible.
- Plants absorb formaldehyde. Wall ivy and cycads suck up benzene, while lilies decrease the levels of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide.
- Be careful while picking marble and granite. Always ask about the radon level.
- Use solid wood as much as possible. It may be more expensive, but the difference in price isn’t worth your health.
- Active carbon coal or bamboo carbon can weaken the effect of formaldehyde.
- Using negative ions can help clear formaldehyde from the air.
- Hot weather increases the chance of volatile organic compounds being emitted into the air, so try to complete any construction work in the cooler months and ventilate the house in summer.