Household Allergies to Volatile Organic Compounds Found in Home Furnishings
Your Home Can Make You Sick
by SJ Johnson
I've struggled with allergies my entire life. Food allergies, hay fever, and environmental allergies--you name it; I have it. My life is a series of trial and error experiments. What works one time may not work again. Just when I thought I had my allergies under control, there was a new unexpected trigger...my home. I suddenly developed an allergic reaction to my home and its contents. Unfortunately, it took me weeks before I realized my home was making me sick.
It took me so long to make the connection between allergies and my home furnishings because I normally keep my windows open. However, this fall came in with a whopper of a storm and then a Nor'easter, so I closed my windows. At first, I didn't realize anything was wrong. It happened gradually. For weeks, I woke up with a sore throat. Then, my lymph nodes swelled and my eyes were red and itchy. I couldn't figure out what was happening, so I decided to do a little research on the Internet.
According to Hometime.com, many homes and buildings have poor air quality. Better insulation materials may reduce drafts and energy consumption; however, the major unforeseen drawback is that there isn't adequate ventilation. Without ventilation, when our furnishings, carpets, and possessions emit gases (off gassing), the toxins linger in the air. Thinking back, I noticed my problem started when I had new windows installed. The previous windows were old, squeaky, and drafty. New windows seemed to be the answer to my prayers; however, what I didn't know was that my new windows would dramatically reduce airflow. That meant that the wall-to-wall carpeting in my bedroom, that I was just barely able to tolerate, became a major problem. I frantically tore up my carpeting expecting to find mold, but there was none. That is when I realized there was a link between air quality and my illness. Between the carpeting and recently purchased bedroom furnishings, my bedroom was full of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, polyurethane, and petroleum-based chemicals. For more information about VOCs, visit EPA.gov.
Armed with this new information, I immediately opened my windows. Within days, my symptoms went away. This experience has also made me more conscientious about the new items I introduce into my environment. My goal is to introduce new items gradually and to switch to natural alternatives. For more information about air-quality in your home, visit HouseSmartstv.com.
All logos, images, and artwork © www.CupofJavaProductions.com 2014 - all rights reserved