Friday, 28 January 2011

For Health and Home

Going green isn't just about helping the planet or reducing your energy bills, it can also have additional health benefits too, as guest blogger Krista Peterson, a graduate of University of Central Florida writes:

Being green is worth it in both the short and long run.  By now, most of you know that remodeling your house or buying a new, greener house, can save money and the environment.  In fact, about half of the energy used in your home goes toward heating and cooling.  By sealing your heating and cooling ducts, updating old appliances (preferably to Energy Star or other green products), or buy relocating to an already green home, you can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs. But turning green can do more than save the planet and save you money.  It can save your life.

Through the process of removing older heating and water appliances, you may solve a health issue you didn’t know existed.  Lead is commonly found in water and soil, and in old paint and heating and cooling pipes, and when ingested can result in lead poisoning. The risk of lead poisoning is much higher for young children and they may suffer from more severe symptoms than adults. Lead poisoning symptoms include irritability, trouble sleeping, abdominal pain, and memory loss.  

If you live in an older house and desire to relocate to a greener home, you may be running from another toxin.  Asbestos is found in the dry wall, insulation, tiles, and heating appliances of older houses. When the fibers are disturbed and released into the air, asbestos fills the lungs or is ingested, leading to a sever cancer. Mesothelioma diagnoses are rarely positive, partially because the symptoms of this cancer are latent for 20-50 years, allowing the cancer to metastasize.   So, if you still live in a non-green house, schedule an inspection, especially if it was built in the 1970’s or earlier.  Living green actually lessens the chance that asbestos will go undetected.

Finally, a greener home means less cracks and holes in the foundation of your home, again reducing the costs of energy and minimizing the need for repair of costly leaks.  Some non-green homes may put their inhabitants at risk for radon poisoning.  Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and water. Radon finds its way into the air and into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation.   Once radon enters the home, it is often trapped inside.  Though any house can be subject to radon leaks (1 in every 15 homes, to be exact), keeping your green thinking cap on helps.  Testing for radon and sealing your home may prevent you or your family from lung cancer in the future.

So, if you’re thinking green, you’re probably thinking safe. Updating your heating and cooling system can eliminate risks of lead poisoning.  Relocating or remodeling can expose asbestos for what it really is. And keeping your eyes open for leaks and cracks, as well as having a test done, can save you from radon poisoning.  Green is always better.

Krista Peterson

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