Chemical Sensitivities and the Importance of Lowering Indoor Toxins


Wood primer

Many people, children in particular, may have health issues such as allergies and asthma. They may also be sensitive to specific chemicals that can lead to the development of health issues. While some individuals may primarily attribute these to the types of allergens and toxic chemicals that are found outdoors, they are often present within the home environment.

What Can Lead to Poor Indoor Air Quality?

According to studies, indoor air quality can actually be worse than outdoor air quality when certain organics are present. It has been shown that when inhaled, these organics can contribute to a variety of health issues. In some instances, the level of these substances may even be two to five times higher inside rather than outside a home.

You may have heard about volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which the Environmental Protection Agency reports are gases which are emitted from certain solids and liquids. These include wood preservatives, paints, and paint strippers. When people have chemical sensitivities, VOCs are known to cause further health problems. CBC Marketplace released a report that indicated when VOC levels are over 500 parts per billion, this could pose health issues for these individuals.

How Can Dampness Affect Children?

Sweden’s Dampness in Buildings and Health study found that when children were exposed to certain percentages of PGEs in their bedrooms, that this could lead to a variety of health issues. When the participants in the study had concentrations in the top 25%, these children had a greater likelihood of also having these health issues:

  • Asthma: 100% higher chance
  • Eczema: 150% higher chance
  • Rhinitis: 320% higher chance

Furthermore, the study also found that children with multiple allergic symptoms were almost twice as likely to develop sensitivities to additional allergens when they were exposed to high concentrations of PGEs.

What if My House Has Wood Floors?

If this flooring was installed or refinished over a year ago, then a large percentage of the VOCs will have dissipated. However, if you’re planning to install a new floor or paint your existing floor, it’s important to use an organic option, such as VOC-free paint. Even if no one in your household has chemical sensitivities, it is still a good practice to use these organic options. This is because you may have an extended family member or friend with chemical sensitivities. When you use organic options for your home improvement projects, the indoor air quality will be healthier overall.

Are Non-Toxic Materials Available?

You may be curious about the different types of materials that are used for home improvement projects. If you’re asking the question, “What is varnish for?” it is used for a variety of finishing purposes. Since it is hard and transparent, varnish is generally used to protect wood furnishings. Since you’re interested in finding out more information about what is varnish for, it is often used when someone has their floors refinished. Homeowners may, for example, choose to apply a gloss varnish over their hardwood flooring. Another use of what is varnish for is to protect furniture after it has been refinished, painted, or stained. You can also learn more about what is varnish for by visiting a paint and refinishing store.

Does someone in your family have allergies or chemical sensitivities? When you plan to refinish your floors, several pieces of furniture, or paint your home’s interiors, there’s an excellent chance you want to use non-toxic materials for these projects. Whether you are going to handle these projects yourself or hire a professional, it’s important to learn where to purchase low VOC paint, latex free paint, and other types of non-toxic materials. In this way, you will be able to create a healthier indoor environment.