Beware—The Air You Breathe (At Home) May Be Hazardous To Your Health Part II

I know indoor air quality isn’t a sexy “green” topic.  It isn’t as interesting as eco-friendly kitchen countertops or solar power.  In fact it’s kind of a scary topic because, well, there seem to be so many unknown variables.  But every day, in our homes, we live with dangerous chemicals that we have complete control over and can choose to minimize and even eliminate from our homes.  So I hope you will take a few minutes to read this blog and then take stock of your home.

This year—last month in fact, for the first time ever the President’s Cancer Panel reported that the country is not doing enough to emphasize the risk posed to all Americans by their constant exposure to chemical carcinogens.  Here’s s little of what they had to say in the report.

Environmental exposures that increase the national cancer burden do not represent a new front in the ongoing war on cancer. However, the grievous harm from this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program. The American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.


Volatile Organic Compounds  (VOCs) represent a myriad of dangerous chemicals emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids.  Some of the products we use daily that contain VOCs are household products including: paints, paint strippers, and other solvents; wood preservatives; aerosol sprays; cleansers and disinfectants; moth repellents and air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; dry-cleaned clothing.  The EPA website has a section on how to minimize risk such as using products only according to manufacturer’s instructions and using good ventilation with products such as paints and strippers.


I’d like to offer some other suggestions.  When you paint use only very low or no VOC paints.  A few years back you had to go out of your way to find these paints.  But now all of the major traditional brands sell low and no VOC paints.  Aside from the health and safety issues, you will be pleasantly surprised that there is virtually no paint smell immediately after the painting is finished.

Cut back on all the chemical household cleaners that are dangerous and expensive.  I use vinegar and baking soda to clean EVERYTHING. Here’s my previous blog called Cleaning on the Cheap.

Perchloroethylene is one of the most dangerous VOCs there is and we wear it around on our bodies all the time.  This is a chemical used by dry cleaning companies and has known carcinogenic implications.  Recent studies show that people breathe this chemical when clothes are stored at home and when they wear them.  If you must wear dry cleaned clothes, use Green Earth Cleaners affiliates.  They use a non-petroleum based cleaning product that has no chemicals that are harmful to you or the environment.

A holistic approach to living a greener life involves your health, the health of your home and the health of the planet.



Gayle Fleming


My purpose is to serve my clients and advocate for their highest and best good, so they attain their real estate goals.


2 responses to “Beware—The Air You Breathe (At Home) May Be Hazardous To Your Health Part II

  1. Somebody once asked me “what is the last thing you would expect a gold fish to notice?’ Answer: it’s own water.

    Thanks for bringing to our attention the obvious, we miss it so often. We look outside for the cures to things that are right within our own environment.

  2. Pingback: Selling and Appraising Green Home Remodels: 2 Identical Homes-2 Different Remodels « Ecogayle's Blog

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