According to environmentalists, the air in our homes is much more polluted than the air on the streets. One of the main reasons for this, are the interior materials, which contain toxic chemicals. Primary repair is the only way to get rid of these sources of pollution. But how to tell which materials are environmentally friendly and safe to use in our homes?
Wood is one of the best environmentally friendly materials. However, it loses its indisputable qualities as an environmentally friendly material when lacquered. Cheap lacquers usually contain synthetic solvents, such as toluene and xylene, which are released gradually into your living area, and poison the air.
To avoid polluting the air in your home, it is better to use natural treatments, like oils and wax, to coat your wooden flooring, rather than lacquer. They provide better protection of the wood materials and are completely environmentally friendly. Besides they are more resistant to scratches. Their only disadvantage is that you will have to periodically reapply the oil or wax coating. The good thing is that with these treatments, your wooden flooring won’t need any other type of maintenance. If you really want to use lacquer, choose water-based lacquer, which doesn’t contain any synthetic solvents.
Considering safety, ceramic tiles are a practically perfect material. However, the adhesive used to glue the ceramic tiles may contain phenol and toluene. So make sure you check the label, before buying the product. To choose an environmentally adhesive, you’ll have to make sure it doesn’t contain any of these chemicals:
- Toluene, xylene, and acetone – these solvents can irritate the mucous membranes and the skin.
- Formaldehyde and phenol-formaldehyde – these are highly carcinogenic and toxic substances, which can irritate the eyes and the throat, and cause bronchitis, and decreased immunity.
- Phenol – its poisonous vapors may irritate the respiratory system and cause headaches.
- Benzene – this may cause fatigue and headaches, and in cases of prolonged exposure, it may damage the cardiovascular system.
- Dioxins – these are dangerous carcinogenic, mutagenic and, embryo toxic chemicals, which may cause leading to infertility and collapse of the immune system. These chemicals are not used to produce any materials, but are obtained as by-products. Source of Chlorine dioxin are plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – a material which is widely used in everyday life.
If you want to put up wallpapers in your home, you should keep in mind that environmentally friendly wallpapers are made of all natural materials. They should also allow unobstructed air circulation, to prevent the growth of mold between the wall and the wallpaper. The cheapest paper wallpapers, as well as wallpapers made from bamboo, jute or linen fully meet these requirements.
Share your thoughts and ideas for environmentally friendly materials in the comments section below. We would be happy to hear other suggestions.