Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

The Green Life Basic Home detoxification

Green Living is now the preferred lifestyle of educated, well-informed people. It’s hardly a coincidence that modern lifestyles are moving as far away from the toxic death traps of the old regime to much safer and intrinsically healthier ways of life. This is a type of “home insurance” which starts with creating a safer home. If you’ve got an older home, it is possible to detoxify the place relatively cheaply and systematically.

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Photo: Aminimanda

Home detox basics

There’s a large number of products in older homes which were the miracle products of their day and have since been identified as health hazards. They’re best removed ASAP.

These products include:

Old style broadloom carpets: These are petrochemical products, and when they get older, “toxic waste dumps” would be an appropriate description. Their product life is a maximum of 10 years. The problem is that between the slow compression of the underlay and the amount of material which gets ground into carpets over that period, they become major health hazards.

Modern modular carpets are much tougher, easier to replace, made on fully sustainable principles and have their own backing. (These are the “airport” style carpets. They’re extremely tough and hard wearing.)

Old house paints: The older the house, the more suspect the paint. Some old paints are pretty good, and perfectly safe, but others aren’t. Any suspicion of flaky paint means airborne particles. It also means possible penetration of surfaces, which can get expensive. Remove the old paint. Use modern non toxic house paints to cover all the issues.

Ventilation issues: Lack of proper ventilation is a great way of making pseudo-asthmatics out of people who don’t have asthma. It’s also a great way of encouraging molds, fungi, and other potentially difficult house guests which are health hazards as well as property destroyers. (Note: Always be alert for breathing issues if you detect mold. Young kids in particular can suffer a lot.)

PVCs: There are good PVCs and bad PVCs, but the older PVCs are usually all bad. PVC flooring, particularly in kitchens if there’s any sign of surface damage and deterioration, should be removed at once. Replace them with any modern flooring, preferably stone, which is environmentally neutral.

Laminates: Laminated home surfaces, depending on their age, can be OK, or the notorious “trailer” laminates, which produce toxic fumes. It’s best to err on the side of caution and condemn anything you’re not sure about. Replace with modern sealed surfaces.

Plastics: Like laminates, guilty until proven innocent, which is almost never. Wood is much better, far safer chemically, and easier to repair and manage.

Plumbing: The tendency of people to recycle plumbing fittings is dangerous. Some of these fossils would be a health hazard to dinosaurs. Check your pipes for any dino-era fittings as well. Replace anything which looks worn or corroded.

Electrical wiring: Old style electrical wiring was usually good for its day, but in terms of power usage, modern homes eat power. The old wiring isn’t necessarily up to the strain, and some of it will need replacement anyway. Get a licensed electrician to check it out on principle.

These checks are “contents insurance” for your home. They’re also contents insurance for your lifestyle- the fewer the toxic hazards, the better the life.

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