Is your home healthy? and what does that even mean?

Well according to Melissa Wittig of Healthy Interiors, our home environment is being directly linked to our health concerns with an increase in respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies and illness in recent years.

The materials that are used to build our homes, materials and finishes used to decorate our homes and the products that we buy have the potential to pollute our home environment.

Global Organizations acknowledge that indoor environments are taking a toll on human health. There are substantial bodies of research on health effects linked to indoor chemical exposure (emissions/gasses).

With energy costs sky-rocketing and the average household noticing a significant increase in their energy bills, there has never been more of a need to understand what small steps you can take to tackle the energy efficiency of your home.

Melissa joined the Speed Date an Expert feature at the recent Build & Renovating Expo, in this video she shares her top 10 tips to creating a healthy, sustainable home including heating / cooling, thermal performance, lighting, windows, doors and alternative energy.

1. Beware of Volatile Organic Compounds – VOCs

VOCs are chemicals that escape or “offgass” into surrounding air. VOCs can be emitted from materials, finishes and products within the home and can trigger or contribute to illness.

2. Understand the connection between environmental pollutants and health

Did you know that the Australian Government and the CSIRO among many other organisations have documented that our indoor environment can cause and contribute to a range of illnesses.

3. Look for non toxic environmentally friendly products

Opt for products that have minimised chemical intervention. Products that are non toxic are better for your health, the health of your home and a better cleaner option for the environment.

4. Look for independent “Certification” on products

Independent certification labels on products help you find items that have legitimate health or environmental credentials and help you avoid “green washing”.

5. Good ventilation and air flow

Ventilation is essential to exhaust unwanted odours, water vapour and pollution, and replace them with fresh air. Use exhaust fans in wet areas and when cooking. Open windows and doors where possible to help remove indoor pollutants.

6. Moisture Control – Avoid dampness and mould

Avoid mould growth by lessening moisture levels in your home. Mould can contribute to a range of health issues.

7. Opt for natural materials and fibres

Many natural materials and fibres have their own beneficial characteristics eg wool naturally has flame resistant and antibacterial properties.

8. Avoid soft furnishings chemical treatments

Question if soft furnishings have been chemically treated before your buy. Avoid stain resistant, UV resistant, antibacterial and flame retardant chemicals as these can break down into household dust and be ingested or inhaled. Contaminated dust has been documented as contributing to asthma, allergies and endocrine altering illnesses among others.

9. Avoid plastics

Plastics can contribute to indoor air pollution through off gassing. Plastics can also release chemical pollutants into household dust.

10. HEPA cleaning

Use a vacuum appliance with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration when cleaning to trap fine dust particles and prevent them from being released back into indoor air when cleaning.

For more information visit healthyinteriors.com.au