With nearly 70 percent of our time spent at home, it’s worth paying attention
to how toxic your house could be. (Photo: Andre Francois McKenzie, Unsplash).
Jeannie Bellomy
RE/MAX of Boulder

Our home is our sanctuary from the world, feeding our feeling of comfort and enriching our aesthetic sense. But is it good for our health? 

With nearly 70 percent of our time spent at home, it’s worth paying attention to how toxic your house is, explains Editor Laurie Mazur of Island Press Urban Resilience Project. Chemicals lurk in our carpet, paint, fabrics and walls. The unhealthy fact is that hazardous chemicals are abundant in building materials. 

“That new carpet smell wafting up from your wall-to-wall may contain more than 40 known chemical hazards, including compounds that have been shown to cause respiratory disease, heart attacks, cancer and asthma; others are neurotoxins and endocrine interrupters that can impair children’s development,” writes Mazur in Medium.com.
Children are especially at risk. 

But building manufacturers aren’t required to label their product’s ingredients. Mazur says that is beginning to change and healthier and affordable options are becoming more available. Following is a list of resources Mazur compiled to help consumers find healthier materials.

The Healthy Building Network supports the healthy materials movement with data and education. Their newest platform, HomeFree, supports affordable housing leaders who are improving human health through the selection of healthier products. HomeFree provides simple tools and resources that create a big health impact. And HBN’s Data Commons provides hazard data for commonly used chemicals.

Home Guide, produced by the Environmental Working Group, guides consumers to choose healthier materials for their home. For example, Home Guide advises against wall-to-wall carpeting, explaining that “fibers and backing, chemical treatments, padding, and glues all come with their own chemical consequences.” Those consequences can include respiratory symptoms, eye irritation, rashes and more.

Find out what’s in a building product by searching the public database published by the Health Product Declaration Collaborative. It contains around 4,000 product disclosures.

Green Science Policy Institute helps you steer clear of hazardous chemicals like flame retardants in furniture and building insulation.

The Housing Partnership Network offers Select, which leverages the collective purchasing power of 200,000+ affordable housing units to negotiate competitive pricing on a broad array of products.

To get your home on a healthy track, see the full list of resources at medium.com/@UrbanResilience/new-resources-for-healthier-homes-969ea188ae0b

For local resources, visit Colorado Green Building Guild
at cgbg.org.

By Jeannie Bellomy, RE/MAX of Boulder.Jeannie is a graduate of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas with a degree in business administration. Her career has spanned more than 20 years in the financial services industry where she specialized in Institutional Fixed Income Sales and Trading. She became an entrepreneur and owner of a women’s boutique on the Treasure Coast in Florida before moving to Colorado. Prior to moving to Boulder and joining RE/MAX of Boulder, she was a broker associate at Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction. For questions, e-mail Jeannie at jeanneb@boulderco.com, call 970.773.6254 or visit boulderco.com