Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

Wk 5: Indoor Air Quality

Response due at the beginning of class on 9/17.

Sustainable design focuses on healthy indoor spaces. We’ve all heard terms such as “sick building syndrome” or “healthy homes” or “VOCs” or “Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)”, “asbestos,” “carbon monoxide,” “Formaldehyde” “Lead (lead paint)”, “radon,” “mold,” “dust mites” and more.   But what are these issues, and whose job is it to to make sure we have healthy indoor air quality?  Many people do not realize what contributes to IAQ. More, many people, including professionals in design, can not explain what is a VOC and how to prevent them.

This information is KEY information for you to understand in order to successfully implement sustainable principles in buildings and homes.  When working with LEED one of categories is Indoor Air Quality (EQ) and part of the EQ LEED credit is a prerequisite that the home be approved by Energy Star Qualified Homes. 

This week please visit the US EPA Organic Gases: Indoor Air Quality – this is an invaluable resource for designers to access when needed research based IAQ information.  Please answer the following fun questions using your own words:

1. What is asbestos? What are asbestos health effects?

2.  What are biological pollutants?

3.  What is carbon monoxide (CO) ? How does LEED for Homes address CO issues (see multiple approaches in LEED-H EQ section)?

4. What is Formaldehyde and pressed wood products?

5. What are the issues with household cleaning, maintenance and personal care? How do we as residential designers address this issue of cleaning, maintenance and care?

6. What is radon?

7. What is the issue with stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys?

8.  What is the issue with pesticides?

9.   Using your own words, explain VOC’s in general and how they will relate to your design practice.

 

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Filed under: Residential Interiors, Sustainable Design, Weekly Assignment, , , , , ,

20 Responses

  1. Lauren Lee says:

    1. Asbestos is a fiber used as a flame retardant and to insulate older homes. It can be found near pipes, furnaces, shingles, millboard, coating materials and floor tiles. It can be released into the air by conducting remodeling in a home. (I lived in O-House my freshman year, and we were not allowed to drill or nail holes into the wall because asbestos would be released into the room.) Some of the health hazards area related to the lungs and can include: lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

    2. Biological pollutants include pollen, molds, mildew, viruses, bacteria, animal droppings, animal dander, animal saliva, etc. By cutting down on humidity and heat in a home, these pollutants can be cut down or prevented to grow.

    3. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, ordorless gas which is toxic and can lead to flu-like symptoms, impaired vision, headaches, fatality,etc. To recieve credit in the LEED for Homes, a carbon monoxide (CO) detector should be located on each floor and in rooms adjacent to the garage, drywall must be tightly sealed to prevent penetration in to the house (garage), and an exhaust fan in the garage needs a carbon monoxide sensor or run continuously.

    4. Formaldehyde is a chemical found in building materials. More than likely the homes main source of formaldehyde is located in pressed/engineered wood (particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard). The wood is held together with adhesives called urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins. The toxin is released in the air harming the indoor air quality.

    5. VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) can be released into the environment in both liquid and dry cleaning produts. The are not only released when they are being used but when they are stored as well. Side effects can include: eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system; conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness, and cancer in animals and possibly humans. We as designers, need to educate our clients on not only what products to use in the house, but how to use them. I believe Megan suggested giving the homeowner a manual on how to clean different elements of the house. All products should be properly stored in correct climate areas, instructions on the bottle are followed, supplies are properly disposed of, bought in limited quantities, etc.

    6. Radon is a radio-active gas which cannot be seen or smelled. It is known to accumulate in basement areas; however no one room is completely radon resistant. One room can have more radon concentration than another. It is the leading cause of lung-cancer in non-smokers.

    7. Stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys can release carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and particles into the household air. Unvented kerosene heaters can also release acid aerosols. High concentrations of combustion products can lead to headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, confusion, and disorientation, from fatigue to episodes of increased chest pain in people with chronic heart disease.

    8. Pesticides can include insecticides and disinfectants. They can lead to exposures and poisonings which can be harmful. Problems can include eye, nose, and throat irritation; damage to central nervous system and kidney; increased risk of cancer; and damage to the liver, kidneys, endocrine and nervous systems.

    9. VOC’s are elements in the home’s pre-construction, contruction, and post-construction phases which can decrease the comfort and safety of those in the home. As a designer, we should consider these issues in every step of the design and construction process. All products should be researched on how it is produced and what is needed to maintain it in a healthy way for the consumer. As Susan Globus stated in her interview, it is the job of the designer to “sustain and support human beings to the highest of their capabilities,” and bettering the indoor air quality for clients is one step closer to that goal.

  2. Katherine Platzer says:

    1. Asbestos is a mineral fiber has been commonly found in insulation to prevent the spread of fires as part of certain building materials. Usually asbestos has been found in older homes around pipes, furnaces, in shingles, millboard, paints and other materials to coat surfaces and some tiles on floors. Asbestos is a group of impure silicate materials that are found in the form of fibers. Some health hazards include chest and abdominal cancers, and lung diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, which is permanent scarring on the lungs. Most of these do not have immediate effects but come later after prolonged exposure from breathing in the small particles.

    2. Biological pollutants originate in plants,and/or can be transferred by humans and animals. Contaminated air systems can contain mold, mildew and other bacteria and then circulate these throughout the home. These contaminants include mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen. To reduce these, you should control the relative humidity in the home and reduce standing water and moist, damp places.

    3. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, toxic gas. Minimum exposure to CO can cause flu like symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and dizziness. Since it is unable to be detected, it can be very dangerous. LEED for homes says to place carbon monoxide detectors on every floor and one on the wall sharing the garage. All drywall and construction materials should be sealed tightly, and the garage needs a detector as well, or a fan to the outside that always runs.

    4. Formaldehyde is a chemical used in the manufacturing industry for construction materials and other household products. It can be found inside or outside. In addition to building materials, it can be caused by smoking or improperly vented appliances. Other products it can be found in are fabrics with a permanent press finishes, glues, and some paints. In homes though, it can be found in pressed wood products. Pressed wood products could contain an adhesive that has urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins. Some examples of these are particle board, hardwood plywood paneling, and medium density fiberboard. Medium density fiberboard generally contains that largest ratio of resin to wood, and is considered the product that emits the most formaldehyde.

    5. Household products, maintenance and personal care items are things that we use in everyday life. These products can cause a problem though because many of them emit VOC’s. Volatile organic compounds are emitted from certain gas or solids including paint, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, copiers, printers, glues, cleaning and cosmetic products, hobby products and permanent markers. When these items are used or stored, they release the organic compounds. They can cause head irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, liver, kidney and nervous system damage. Some can even cause cancer. The health effects will depend on how much and the amount of time exposed. As a designer, we first should be aware of the items that could release these organic compounds so we can also inform our clients. Things to know include following the labels and instructions correctly, throwing away old chemicals or chemicals that are not needed anymore, only buy quantities that you will use right away so they are not sitting around, and keep exposure to a minimum. These are things we could inform our client with.

    6. Radon is a radioactive gas that is invisible, odorless, and tasteless. It causes cancer and is the leading cause of cancer in non smokers and the second leading cause in smokers.

    7. Stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys can release carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other hazardous particles. These can be released by improperly installed or maintained chimneys and flues. Also, fireplaces and wood stoves that do not have a proper way outside can be back drafted back into the house. High amounts of carbon dioxide can cause headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and confusion. Nitrogen dioxide can cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, shortness of breath and respiratory infection.

    8. The problem with pesticides is the fact that they are so commonly used, especially inside. They are usually used as insecticides and disinfectants. Contaminated soil and dust are other contaminants which are usually sources because of the pesticides that are used around the house for bugs, termites and rodents and fertilizer used on soil and on grass. They can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat and an increased rick of cancer. Pesticides could also raise the level of organic compounds in the home because of the inert and active ingredients.

    9. To me, VOC’s are things that can decrease human life, but with proper education and proper use of products, human life can remain at its best. VOC’s can be found in all sorts of products, from homes (old construction and new construction), household products, and gases that we can’t see, taste, or smell. As a designer, we need to be aware of the products we specify and know everything about how that product was manufactured and how it will be delivered, and what will happen during the use of the product.

  3. Margaret Reid says:

    1. Asbestos is commonly used in building materials for insulation and as a fire retardant and is a mineral fiber. It is most commonly found in older homes, asbestos shingles, millboard, pipe and furnace insulation materials, textured paints, and floor tiles. Manufacturers have limited the use of asbestos and CPSC and EPA have banned many asbestos products. Asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

    2. Biological Pollutants include mildew, molds, viruses, bacteria, animal dander and cat saliva, pollen, mites, and cockroaches. Biological contaminants are or are made from living things. They are often found in areas that provide food or water/moisture.

    3. Carbon Monoxide is a toxic gad that is both odorless and colorless. Because of this, CO can kill someone before they even know it is present. Carbon Monoxide has different effects on everyone and at lower levels it can cause symptoms like the flu. LEED for Homes addresses the issues of CO in its manual. It says to have Carbon Monoxide detectors on each floor and in any rooms next to the garage. All drywall also must be tightly sealed and there needs to be a Carbon Monoxide detector must be on the fan in the garage or it needs to run constantly.

    4. Formaldehyde is a chemical used often in building materials and household products. Some other sources of formaldehyde are smoking, gas stoves and kerosene space heaters. Pressed wood products are the most significant source of formaldehyde in a home and they are made using adhesives that have urea-formaldehyde resins in them.

    5. Household cleaning, maintenance and personal care are all ways in which VOC’s can be released and cause unwanted symptoms to people who are exposed. These products can be either in contact with you or stored for you to be exposed to their VOC’s. It is important for us as residential interior designers to be educated on these products and which one’s are the least harmful. This way, we can pass the information on to clients and provide an environment that is safe for them.

    6. Radon is a natural radioactive gas that causes cancer. You can’t see, smell or taste radon and it is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

    7. Stoves, heaters, and fireplaces, release pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles. Combustion gases and particles also come from chimneys and flues that are either improperly installed or maintained. Fireplaces and woodstoves with no proper outdoor air supply can cause a “back draft” into the living space.

    8. Pesticides are products that kill household pests such as insects, termites, fungi, rodents, and microbes. They are sold in various forms like sprays, powders, liquids, balls, sticks and foggers. The problem with pesticides is that they are so commonly used outside and especially inside the home. The outcome of being exposed to pesticides is your nose, eyes and throat being irritated, an increased risk of cancer, and damage to the nervous system and kidney.

    9. VOC’s are chemicals that have high vapor pressures that are strong enough to be harmful to living things. They can be found in many products found/used in everyday life. This is a major issue because many of these hazardous VOC’s are undetectable to people so it is important that we use other ways to detect them in the home.

  4. Laura M. says:

    1. What is asbestos? What are asbestos health effects?
    Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber with heat resistance and high tensile strength. This is why asbestos is sometimes used as a fire retardant barrier or insulation. Asbestos is also used as ceiling tiles, building materials, heat-resistant products, and so on. When remodeling older buildings, breaking these materials that contain asbestos can release the fibers. Asbestos can be inhaled and cause lung diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Symptoms may take several years to appear in the lungs. Breathing in air with airborne friable asbestos can cause a person to breathe in the asbestos fibers. Inhaling asbestos fibers can become trapped in the lung tissue causing the tissue to scar. This scarring makes it hard for the oxygen to get in the blood. There has yet to be an effective treatment for asbestosis. Lung cancer is the number one killer of asbestos exposure and generally is caught too late. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is located in the membrane of the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart.

    2. What are biological pollutants?
    Biological pollutants are what we consider to be allergens. These are the common allergens we hear about in homes like, bacteria, mold, mildew, cat saliva and animal dander, dust, mites, cockroaches, pollen, viruses, and so on. These pollutants are spread by humans as we travel in and out of the homes. A way to control the growth of some sources of these biological pollutants are by controlling the relative humidity level in a home. The relative humidity should be at 30-50 percent in homes.

    3. What is carbon monoxide (CO) ? How does LEED for Homes address CO issues (see multiple approaches in LEED-H EQ section)?
    Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas. Low volumes of carbon monoxide can have effects that are mistaken for the flu. In homes that use gas, use detectors and install and use an exhaust fan vented to outdoors over gas stoves, open flues when fireplaces are in use, do not idle the car inside the garage, and have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system annually and have any leaks repaired. LEED for Homes addresses combustion venting and its intent is to minimize the leakage of combustion gases into the occupied space of the home. A carbon monoxide (CO) monitor must be installed on each floor. A carbon monoxide detector should be placed in adjacent rooms that share a door with the garage. An exhaust fan in the garage must be designed with an automatic timer control linked to an occupant sensor, light switch, garage door opening-closing mechanism, carbon monoxide sensor, or equivalent. The timer must be set to provide at least three air changes each time the fan is turned on. LEED for Homes even suggests to detach the garage or have no garage.

    4. What is Formaldehyde and pressed wood products?
    Formaldehyde is a chemical used in building materials and numerous household products and is also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. Formaldehyde is used to add permanent-press qualities to clothing and draperies, as a component of glues and adhesives, and as a preservative in some paints and coating products. Pressed-woods are made using adhesives contain urea-formaldehyde resins. Indoor pressed-wood products are particleboard, hardwood plywood paneling, and medium density fiber board (which contains a higher resin-to-wood ratio than any other urea-formaldehyde-emitting pressed wood product), oriented strand board. Health risks associated with formaldehyde include, burning eyes and throat, nausea, difficulty breathing, may trigger asthma attacks, and there is evidence that it has may cause cancer in humans. Other health risks are eye, nose, and throat irritation, wheezing and coughing, fatigue, skin rash, severe allergic reactions, and so on.

    5. What are the issues with household cleaning, maintenance and personal care? How do we as residential designers address this issue of cleaning, maintenance and care?
    Cleaning supplies, paint strippers, building materials and furnishings, waxes, varnishes, disinfecting products, cosmetic products, degreasing products, etc. all contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs contain a variety of chemicals which are increasingly higher indoors. Health effects can range from irritations, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system, and may cause cancer. The levels and lengths of exposure are what contribute to the health effects. One way to minimize VOC exposure is to increase ventilation when using product that emit VOCs.

    6. What is radon?
    Radon is a radioactive gas you can’t see, smell, or taste and is cancer-causing. Health risks include lung cancer (second leading cause in the U.S.). Radon can be found in drinking water, and low levels in granite countertops. The main source of radon is from the soil in contact with basement floors and walls. Radon kits are available to test the air quality in your home.
    7. What is the issue with stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys?
    These products are combustion products that release carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles. Combustion gases and particles also come from chimneys and flues that are improperly installed or maintained and cracked furnace heat exchangers. Back draft can occur in the living space (particularly in weatherized homes) from fireplaces and woodstoves with no dedicated outdoor air supply. Severe health problems like respiratory problems, lung disease, fatality (carbon monoxide), chronic heart disease, irritation of lung tissue, radon can be released, and so on. Precautions should be properly taken like opening the flues in chimneys, having proper ventilation, using a stove hood, and following EPA emission standards when operating a woodstove.

    8. What is the issue with pesticides?
    Pesticide products should always be stored away from children. The Poison Control Center reported that some 79,000 children were involved in common household pesticide poisonings or exposures. Pesticides are classes as semi-volatile organic compounds and include a variety of chemicals in various forms. They are inherently toxic. Health Effects: eye, ear, nose irritations, central nervous system damage and kidney, muscular weakness, nausea, dizziness, headache, increased risk of cancer. Prolonged exposure can include damage to liver, kidneys, endocrine and nervous systems. Increasing the amount of pesticide use does not offer more protection against pests and can be harmful to you and your plants and pets. No air concentration standards for pesticides have been set, however, EPA recommends Integrated Pest Management, which minimizes the use of chemical pesticides. Pesticide products must be used according to application and ventilation instructions provided by the manufacturer.

    9. Using your own words, explain VOC’s in general and how they will relate to your design practice.
    We should be careful when choosing products that contain harmful or excessive amounts of VOCs. When the product off-gases, it can be harmful to the homeowners health. I believe it will relate to my design practice because a customer doesn’t want to jeopardize their health. Having product with no harmful off-gassing or side effects is much more beneficial to any homebuyer. As a designer (or historic preservationist) I should be aware of what products contain what VOCs and what older products in a home didn’t have any requirements when they were first installed. If a homeowner wants to renovate their home, I should be aware of what their home could contain in their older product that will be removed or restored and how to make their indoor air quality better. Better indoor air quality benefits everyone.

  5. Ashley Sellen says:

    1. Asbestos is a widely banned and limited used mineral fiber that is found in many different types of building construction. More commonly, it is used in insulation and as a fire-retardant. Unfortunately, there are no sudden symptoms, but there is a high risk of chest and abdominal cancers as well as lung diseases. Just as in everything else, smokers are at an even higher risk for lung cancer induced by asbestos. Other complications include mesothelioma and asbestosis.

    2. Biological pollutants include a broad range of contaminants. Some of these include bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen. They come from anything from plants, people, animals, soil, to mice and rat urine.

    3. Carbon monoxide is extremely deadly and can kill you before you are even aware it is present. It is so dangerous because it is not only toxic gas but it is odorless as well as colorless. CO can cause flu-like symptoms at low levels of exposure, so it is imperative to have CO detectors throughout the home. LEED for homes has a total of four prerequisites that will address issues with CO. These prerequisites are basic combustion venting, basic outdoor ventilation, basic local exhaust, good air filters and no HVAC in the garage area.

    4. Used in the industry to manufacture materials and many household products, formaldehyde is essentially a chemical. It can also be a by-product of natural processes, so it can appear in large concentrations inside and outside. Formaldehyde can more commonly be found in the home used in pressed wood products made with urea-formaldehyde such as particleboard, hardwood plywood paneling, and medium density fiberboard.

    5. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be released as dangerous gases from certain types of household products. These VOCs can have both short and long-term health effects and can be found in thousands of products. These are everyday products such as paint, cleaning supplies, pesticides, furnishings, office equipment, glues, adhesives and permanent markers. Health effects depend on the amount of exposure to the VOC, but can range from headaches to damage of the liver, kidney and central nervous system. As designers, we need to make sure the home has proper and adequate ventilation. If at all possible, try to use products that contain no known VOCs.

    6. Radon is a radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It is invisible, smell and tasteless. Fortunately, radon can be prevented and tested for. Testing is inexpensive and should be done if you know you have a radon level of 4 pCi/L or more.

    7. Kerosene and gas space heater, woodstoves, fireplaces, and gas stoves, which are un-vented can be classified as combustion products. These sources can release harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Chimneys and flues can cause “back-draft,” which can bring pollutants inside the house instead out outside. Combustion products can cause many health effects ranging from dizziness, nausea, and confusion to fatigue and respiratory infection, and possibly emphysema.

    8. Pesticides are products that are extremely common in most homes to control insects, termites, rodents, fungi, and microbes. One issue with pesticides is that they can be easily exposed to children, sometimes causing the child to be poisoned. Other downfalls to pesticides include eye, nose and throat irritation, damage to the kidney and central nervous system, and an increased chance of cancer. Pesticides can also include organic compounds, which could create the same symptoms as VOCs create.

    9. VOCs are extremely harmful gases that evaporate quickly causing depletion of the ozone layer. They have many adverse health effects and should not be taken lightly. When designing, I will take VOCs into tough consideration, making sure I know what products contain what and that there is significant ventilation throughout the home. I feel as if the client should also be aware and educated on VOCs, so they know what products in the future to stay away from, so as to maintain a healthy indoor air quality.

  6. David Estes says:

    1.What is asbestos? What are asbestos health effects? Asbestos is grouped impure magnesium silicate mineral fibers that has been used to be a fire retardant and as insulation in buildings. Older buildings and homes are more likely to have products that contain asbestos within them. They can be in the insulation, paint, floor tiles, shingles, or millboard. It is very important not to disturb materials that contain asbestos by doing so you are creating a very unhealthy environment. Once materials containing asbestos are disturbed the asbestos particles are released in the air and breathed in, due to their tiny size. Once asbestos is breathed in, it sits in the lung, increasing ones chances of ill effects in the future. Being exposed to a high number of asbestos fibers over a long period of time can cause cancer, mesothelioma (cancer in abdominal cavity and chest), and asbestosis (scarred lungs due to asbestos build up). The best way to prevent these diseases is by not disturbing products with asbestos that are in the home. If products containing asbestos are not damaged or tampered it is ok to leave them be, it is the best thing to do. If these products have been damaged they must be removed by a trained professional.

    2. What are biological pollutants? Biological pollutants are made from or are living things. You can find them in spaces that provide, moisture (unvented bathrooms and humidifers), water (cooling coils, cooling systems, wet carpet or walls), or food (carpet, drapery, furniture, and fabrics). Some common pollutants “…include bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, dust mites, mites, cockroaches, and pollen”. There are many health effects due to exposure to these different pollutants such as: asthma, allergies and reactions, chicken pox, influenza, measles, and lung problems. It is impossible to fully get rid of biological pollutants in a home but there are measures to reduce their effects. By using adequate ventilation, routine insect and rodent control, a relative humidity factor of 30-60%, not letting water sit, and cleaning and vacuuming on a regular basis will help in preventing ones home from becoming over run by unhealthy and harmful biological pollutants.

    3.  What is carbon monoxide (CO) ? How does LEED for Homes address CO issues (see multiple approaches in LEED-H EQ section)? Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, deadly gas. One is not able to taste, see, or smell it so it is unable to detect by human senses. It can create flu like symptoms, and create a sense of fatigue or dizziness. Too much exposure can end in death. In the LEED for Homes manual it states ways that CO can and should be detected. A carbon monoxide detector has to be on each floor of a home, seal all walls and penetrations of rooms near the garage, paint walls and ceiling of the garage, have a continuously running fan in the garage, and all rooms that share a door with the garage need their own CO detector.

    4. What is Formaldehyde and pressed wood products? Formaldehyde is a chemical used mostly in manufacturing and production. Its qualities make it incorporated into permanent press finishes, glues, and some preservatives. Most commonly it is found in products made from pressed wood and these are generally found in the homes walls, structure, floor, cabinets, furniture, and even the exterior construction of the home. These usually consist of : plywood, particleboard,fiberboard, and medium density wood. Homes need to be aware that heat and humidity can increase the release of the formaldehyde. Coating pressed wood products can help reduce the release of formaldehyde.

    5. What are the issues with household cleaning, maintenance and personal care? How do we as residential designers address this issue of cleaning, maintenance and care? Many of the finishes, furniture, cleaners, supplies, and products that are used in the home are harmful to the occupants within them. Cleaners, bug repellants, air fresheners, stored paints and fuels, hobby supplies, and dry cleaning are a few of the products that are used in and placed in the home and once used they still have a bad effect on the air, hours later. As designers we need to design homes with more than adequate ventilation throughout, use products to the manufacturers guidelines when designing and make sure that the products and chemicals that are used have been properly stored or thrown away in a responsible manner. Not only do we need to adhere to this responsible manner of controlling the amount of harmful products in the air we need to educate our clients on products and activities that not detrimental to their air quality.

    6. What is radon? Radon is a natural radioactive gas that cannot be detected by the senses. It is the main cause of lung cancer in non smokers and highly dangerous. Tests can be performed in the home to see if your family is threatened by radon.

    7. What is the issue with stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys? Stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys need to have proper ventilation and upkeep to make sure they are not emitting harmful chemicals like: carbon monoxide,radon, and nitrogen dioxide and small particles containing these chemicals into your homes air. They can cause harmful effects on the body and even disease in the future. It is important to follow a manufacturers directions on operation, type, and size of ventilation on the stove. Make sure that fireplaces and chimneys are inspected seasonally and are structurally safe and working properly.

    8.  What is the issue with pesticides? Pesticides are used to kill and get rid of unwanted bugs, animals, fungicides, and microbes. Most homes in the U.S. use pesticides within their home or it is tracked into the home from the outside. They contain harmful chemicals and pollute the interior air of the home. The presence of pesticides within the home can cause headaches, nausea, damage to kidneys, nervous system, and liver. Pesticides are a killing agent and should be used as little as possible and if they must be used they should be diluted or done by a trained and responsible professional.

    9. Using your own words, explain VOC’s in general and how they will relate to your design practice. VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) are gases that can come from and be released from thousands of different products and chemicals. They are in our homes and the products we use on a regular and daily basis. Air within the home becomes very unhealthy and unsafe for the occupants that are exposed to VOC’s. As a designer I have a large responsibility to my clients to create spaces that are built, inspected, hold up, and operated in a manner that is safe and healthy. I will teach them what are unhealthy products and practices that have and emit VOC’s that could eventually have harmful effects on their health. Teaching and implementing my beliefs on air quality within the home will be my responsibility to my clients for a healthy space and life.

  7. Tiffany Ward says:

    1. Asbestos is a fire-retardant mineral (impure magnesium silicate) that was popularly used in construction applications such as insulation, shingles, paint, and floor tiles until studies revealed long-term health consequences directly linked to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is not as hazardous to health until the material is disturbed, usually by cutting or sanding the material. It is when the small asbestos fibers are inhaled that asbestos becomes particularly harmful, and with long-term exposure, may cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis.

    2. Biological pollutants refer to any number of bacteria, viruses, mildews, pollen, dust, dander or salvia which may be carried and distributed by humans, animals, plants and other living organisms. Biological pollutants tend to thrive in wet and warm environments and can cause allergic reaction like asthma attacks and trigger some infectious illnesses.

    3. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is often deadly if fumes go undetected for a period of time. Several carbon monoxide sources are unvented gas heaters, leaking chimneys, wood stoves and fireplaces, generators, tobacco smokes, and automobile exhaust. In order to address carbon monoxide issues, LEED for Homes requires that each floor have a carbon monoxide detector, forbids unvented combustion appliances, and requires all fireplaces and wood stoves to have doors as prerequisites. Additionally, the offer points for a group of actions that includes putting carbon monoxide detectors in the garage.

    4. Formaldehyde is a colorless, foul-smelling gas that is used in a range of products such as construction materials, clothing, glues, and some paints. Formaldehyde is also a byproduct of combustion and may cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat.
    Formaldehyde is often used to make pressed wood products. Pressed wood products are made with glues that contain formaldehyde; some of these pressed wood products include particleboard, hardwood plywood paneling, medium density fiber board, and some furniture pieces. The medium density fiber board is the pressed wood product known to emit the most formaldehyde.

    5. Household cleaning, maintenance and personal care items like paint, wax, surface disinfectants, pesticides, air fresheners, markers, glues, and printer ink emit gases that contain volatile organic compounds, which are often recognized for their distinct smell. VOC levels are found to two to five times higher indoors than outdoors and can cause minor to severe health concerns ranging from headaches to cancer.
    Much of our control over VOC emissions is in the products that we choose to implement in a space. We should be wise when choosing carpets, paints, and adhesives, as well as when picking cleaning supplies for the construction area. As environmentally conscious designers, it is also our job to inform our clients how to maintain their house responsibly with proper literature and instruction, so they can continue to be environmentally mindful after we leave.

    6. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that is known to cause lung cancer. Radon test kits are available to test radon levels in homes.

    7. Stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys release harmful contaminants into the air like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other particles that can be detrimental if inhaled. Many times stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys are especially problematic in terms of gases and particles because they are improperly installed and maintained.

    8. Pesticides are classified at semi-volatile organic compounds that are used to control and kill insects, bacteria and other undesirable living organisms. Pesticides used on the exterior of the homes often track to the interior of the home and collect on household surfaces contributing to poor indoor air quality. Pesticides can cause dizziness and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat when exposed.

    9. Volatile organic compounds are gases that emit into our air from a range of products like cleaning supplies, to carpet, to stain and “air fresheners” and glue. I am afraid volatile organic compounds are here to stay, but as designers we have the power to work together and significantly decrease the level of VOCs as well as increase our overall air quality by first educating ourselves and implementing prudent product choices and then sharing that knowledge with our clients so awareness spreads quickly.

  8. Addison Ruffin says:

    1. Asbestos is a group of impure magnesium silicate minerals. These mineral fibers are used in buildings for their fire retardant and insulation characteristics. Asbestos is used very rarely today and has been banned in many circumstances. It is most commonly found is older homes in places such as floor tiles and shingles. When materials containing asbestos are disturbed the tiny asbestos particles are released into the air and can cause health problems. Most people that are affected by asbestos make contact with it on the job site. The symptoms of asbestos exposure are not directly evident. It can take years for the affects to set in. Chest and abdominal cancers and lung diseases are possible outcomes of exposure. Tiny asbestos particles can get stuck in your lungs and cause lung caner, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

    2. Biological pollutants are bacteria, mold, mildew, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, pollen, etc. Pollutants come from many different sources. Bacteria can be carried by humans, animals, and other debris. HVAC systems are a prime location for mold, mildew, and contaminates to grow. The system then distributes the contaminates throughout the home. Also, water can provide an ideal environment for pollutants to develop. The most harmful allergens grow in warm, moist environments. By keeping a relative humidity of 30-50 percent, some of these pollutants can be lessened.

    3. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that is both odorless and colorless. It is especially deadly because it is practically undetectable in your home. You cannot see it, smell it, or taste it. At nonfatal levels, CO can give a person symptoms similar to the flu. Headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and fatigue are all complaints related to lower levels of exposure. CO can come from sources such as leaky fireplaces, furnace back drafts, wood stoves, automobile exhaust, tobacco smoke, etc. In order to keep CO levels in check, you must make sure that your gas using appliances are properly adjusted and cared for, among other things. LEED for homes addresses CO by suggesting that a CO monitor be installed on each floor. Because CO can penetrate drywall, garages should be painted to lessen this effect. Also, placing a fan in the garage to constantly clear the air is a good idea.

    4. Formaldehyde is a chemical used to make building materials and other household goods. Because it is also a byproduct of natural events and combustion, it can be present indoors as well as out. Many things including smoking, un-vented fuel burning appliances, and building materials can produce formaldehyde. Pressed wood products containing adhesives are the biggest sources of formaldehyde. Pressed wood products include particleboard, hardwood plywood paneling, and medium density fiberboard. The Medium density fiberboard is known to emit the highest amount of formaldehyde. Products that contain phenolformaldehyde emit toxins at a lower rate that other products. Coving pressed wood products with polyurethane may help to slow the release of formaldehyde. Heat and humidity boost the release formaldehyde and a dehumidifier can help to create an environment that facilitates a slower release of formaldehyde. Proper ventilation is key to keeping the indoor air quality in check.

    5. When caring for yourself and cleaning and maintaining a household, Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are emitted as gasses from chemicals that are present. These compounds can have negative affects on humans. The levels of VOC’s are much higher inside than outside. The levels can be 2 to 5 times higher inside. A few examples of products containing VOC’s are paints, cleaining supplies, pesticides, furnishings, adhesives, dry cleaned clothing, etc. Effects of exposure to VOC’s include eye, nose, and throat irriatation, headaches, nausea, kidney and liver damage, etc. As a designers, I will address these issues by ensuring that the proper ventilation is implemented in the home. I will be sure to educate clients on the harmful effects of VOC’s. They need to know that opened containers should not be left in the home. I need the ensure that products containing VOC’s are used according the manufacturers’ directions.

    6. Radon is a natural radioactive gas. You cannot see smell or taste radon and it can cause cancer. In fact, for non-smokers, it is the leading cause of lung cancer. There are a number of tests that need to be completed to determine whether or not your household is at risk. One thing is for sure, radon is not a gas that you want to have on your property.

    7. The issue with stoves, fireplaces and chimneys is that they are sources of combustion products. They release carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles. It is imperative to make sure that these components are installed properly. You must make sure that each fixture has a dedicated outdoor air supply so that it cannot be backdrafted into the home. As discusses in earlier questions, CO is not a good gas to have in your home. It interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the body. Nitrogen dioxide is also harmful. If irritates your senses and causes shortness of breath. It can also increase the risk of respiratory infection. People with asthma have a particularly hard time with this gas. Other particles produced by stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys can become lodged in the lungs and lead to further heal issues.

    8. Pesticides are chemical poisons that are used to kill pests. It is particularly interesting that 80 percent of people’s exposure to these chemicals occur inside. These contaminates can be tracked in from outside or float in as dust. Because pesticides are sprayed and fogged into areas, it is difficult to control exactly where they go and it is inevitable that some of the spray will end up in unwanted places. Pesticides are poisons and will not only kill bugs, but people as well. It is imperative that care is taken when storing and using these poisons because they have been known to kill children when they are accidently run into.

    9. VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) are gases that come from a variety of products. Products from building supplies to cleaning supplies can emit these harmful gases. Different products emit different levels of VOC’s. As a designer I will be very concerned with researching VOC’s and specifying materials that emit minimal levels. Also, I will need to advise my clients on how to clean and maintain their home with products that will emit a limited amount of VOC’s. Its all about education yourself so that you can educate others.

  9. Meredith Tannehill says:

    1. What is asbestos? What are asbestos health effects? Asbestos are fibrous minerals of magnesium silicate and can be extremely harmful if exposed to. There are a variety of materials that contain this substance including insulation used as a fire retardant, floor tiles, shingles, and certain specified paints. Being exposed to asbestos can have an adverse affect on an individual’s health causing fatal diseases like lung cancer and cancer on the lining of your chest. In order to avoid such issues new construction should avoid using any materials that carry asbestos. As for pre-existing structures, any material with a noted asbestos content should either be removed properly (if not exposure could worsen then when left alone) or simply be investigated periodically.
    2. What are biological pollutants? As humans, we are exposed to biological pollutants on a daily basis. Such contaminants include bacteria and viruses that are carried by people and animals, molds and mildews that come from moist areas of the home or form in poorly ventilated areas, or can form from dust and bugs that may find their way inside the home. It is important to ensure the home is properly sealed as to keep unwanted critters out of the home but to also make sure that correct ventilation is provided so that unnecessary moisture can escape as needed. By also keeping a clean home dust will form less frequently and germs from individuals and pets wont spread as badly (although it is inevitable that they will).
    3. What is carbon monoxide (CO) ? How does LEED for Homes address CO issues (see multiple approaches in LEED-H EQ section)? Carbon monoxide is a fatal an invisible gas that has no smell, taste, or color. This deadly fume can virtually be the cause of death to someone before they even experience symptoms of having been exposed to the gas. LEED for Homes addresses that a CO monitor be installed at every floor and that for any combustion equipment either one of the three factors must be met: 1) must be fully enclosed with sealed air supply and exhaustion 2) must have a power-vent exhaust and 3) must be detached from the building or in an open air facility of some kind.
    4. What is Formaldehyde and pressed wood products? Although formaldehyde is a harmful chemical that can fatigue, rashes, cancer, and even death manufacturers from all over use it quite frequently in the production of building materials and house products. This colorless odor has a very strong odor and is commonly found in pressed wood products. Pressed wood are made for both indoor and outdoor uses including particleboards, hardwood plywood paneling, and oriented strand board that has been flattened and attached together using an adhesive that contains this substance.
    5. What are the issues with household cleaning, maintenance and personal care? How do we as residential designers address this issue of cleaning, maintenance and care? The issue with household cleaning, maintenance, personal care items is that many of them contain VOC’s or volatile organic compounds. VOC are harmful chemicals that are emitted from common items used by the public like carpet cleaners, degreasing and disinfecting sprays. As designers it is our responsibility to be aware of the products we choose to have installed within a home and ensure that the cleaning process and maintenance towards the material or product is going to be both environmentally friendly to the residence and most importantly its inhabitants.
    6. What is radon? As the first leading cause of lung cancer to non-smokers (me) radon is an extremely harmful gas that is both natural and radioactive. Because radon is such a harmful substance to human beings it is important to test your homes for radon content using a radon test kit sold at home improvement stores or can be ordered directly offline.
    7. What is the issue with stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys? Although we associate good things such as food and cooking, cuddling and chatting with stoves and fireplaces we need to be cautious at the same time. Just like tobacco smoke, these items can produce harmful bi-products because they are combustion equipment. They give off substances of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and acid aerosols. Generally this only occurs of the flue of the chimney has been installed improperly, dust particles and pollutants come in from the fireplace to where the residents are relaxing, or ventilation from stoves and other gas or kerosene appliances are not up to par.
    8. What is the issue with pesticides? Pesticides are used by families worldwide to keep pests and other bug life out of the home. However, these chemicals that we voluntarily place in our homes to protect or unfortunately have the opposite effect. To much exposure to pesticides can cause health problems such as headaches, muscular weakness, to liver and kidney pains. There is also the issue that pesticides hold and trap in dirt and other dust forms tracked in from the outside and can ultimately cause more problems for the residents living in and at the home.
    9. Using your own words, explain VOC’s in general and how they will relate to your design practice.
    VOC, volatile organic compounds, are harmful chemicals that are emitted through gases and fumes of specific materials. These materials include paints and lacquers, carpets, various cleaning products, and certain textiles on upholstered furnishings. These VOC’s are very detrimental to humans causing multiple health problems and are crucial to address in the field of design. As a designer, it is ultimately my responsibility to be knowledgeable about this issue so that I may create environments that are healthy and safe for my clients. It is my duty as the designer to have a clear understanding of exactly what materials off gas with VOC’s and do my best to rid of any such material in my design.

  10. Katie L Robertson says:

    1. Asbestos is a fiber that has been used in insulation. Today though it is mostly found in older homes in materials like millboard paints, coating materials, and tiles. Increased levels of asbestos from cutting, sanding or other construction methods can endanger people and their health. Many people who have been exposed to high levels of asbestos have been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (when the lungs are scarred with fibrous tissue). It has been proven that the more fibers inhaled increases the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma. The asbestos fibers can stay around for long periods of time which makes the risk of disease more likely.
    2. Pollutants can actually originate from things like plants (the soil and plant debris), viruses and bacteria from humans and animals. Biological contaminants can be anything from mold and mildew to cat saliva, house dust, mites, and cockroaches. Bacteria, viruses, animal dander, and pollen are all considered biological pollutants.
    3. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is colorless and has no odor, which makes it undetectable to the senses, and can even kill you before you realize it has gotten in your house. Mild exposure to (CO) can even have flu like symptoms. Some of the possible ways sources and ways for (CO) to be exposed to you is through unvented kerosene, leaking chimneys, gas water heaters, fireplaces, generators, automobile exhaust, and even tobacco smoke. In LEED for Homes, the have four ways to make sure (CO) doesn’t come into your home. One: they require that no unvented combustion appliances are allowed, this includes things like decorative logs. Secondly, is a (CO) monitor must be installed on each floor. Next LEED suggest that all fireplaces and wood stoves have doors. Lastly LEED has requirements about the space and water heaters. LEED suggest to design and install the space and water heater with sealed air and exhaust ducting; must design and install with a power-vented exhaust; and locate the units in a detached utility building or open-are facility.
    4. Formaldehyde is a by-product of combustion and other natural processes, which are also a chemical that is used the manufacture building materials and some household products. Formaldehyde is frequently found in pressed wood products that have adhesives containing (UF) resins (ex: particleboard, medium density fiberboard). The medium density fiberboard is actually one product that has a high resin-to-wood ratio compared to other (UF) pressed products. A couple of ways to help lower the exposure to formaldehyde is to use exterior-grade pressed wood because it contains phenol resins instead of the urea (UF) resins. Another way is to increase the ventilation especially after new sources of formaldehyde have been brought into a home.
    5. Many household products like paints, wood preservatives, adhesives, cleaners and disinfectants, and dry-cleaning can all contain VOCs. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can have short and long term health effects and are emitted as gases. Some of the effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation or headaches. More serious effects from VOCs are damage to the liver, kidney and nervous system, and even cancer in animals. There are different ways to help lower the levels of VOCs within the home. As designers we can make sure that there is proper ventilation in a house, and also make sure that the materials (such as adhesives for tiles) are products that contain low or no VOCs.
    6. Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. It is a natural gas that can cause cancer, and is the leading cause of lung cancer for people who are no-smokers. There are five ways to help lower the amount of radon exposure in the house. One way is to (when in the construction phase) install a vent pipe. Use one that in commonly used for plumbing that runs from the gravel (that is below the slab) out from the roof. This safely vents radon gas out so that it doesn’t leak into the house.
    7. When stoves, fireplaces and things like gas space heaters are not installed correctly or not vented they release many harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles. Nitrogen dioxide can cause people to have shortness of breath and even increase the risk of respiratory infections.
    8. Products that are commonly used in the home that are pesticide products are insecticides and disinfectants. One of the problems that has been reported about these products is the exposure and poisoning of children through the chemical. Many in the EPA are considered that some of these chemicals could and might cause long-term damage to the liver and the central nervous system and even a risk of cancer. Since many of the ingredients in pesticides are organic compounds that can also add the levels or airborne organics inside.
    9. VOCs are chemicals and gases that are emitted by materials and building methods in the home during construction and can effect and sicken the inhabitants even after the construction phase is over. As designers we need to consider alternative materials and resources and have no and low levels of VOCs to ensure the health and future of homeowners, as well as come up with ways to help homeowners and consumers continue to use products that have low and no VOCs and monitor the VOC levels in the home.

  11. Lila Wilson says:

    1. Asbestos is a fiber found mainly in older buildings. Before it was proven to be harmful it was used as an insulation material and a fire retardant. Asbestos can still be found in floor tiles, trim, some paints and coatings and shingles. Asbestos gets into the air after it is disturbed during reconstruction or improper removal. The effects of asbestos inhalation are not immediately seen as the small fiber accumulate in the lungs over time and lead to health problems. These problems include lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis
    2. Biological pollutants are found throughout the home and include pet dander, mites, dust, bacteria, viruses and pollen. These pollutants can come from pets, plants and people. These pollutants can be easily spread through the home’s central air system but keeping an eye on the relative humidity within the home can greatly reduce this because many pollutants grow and thrive in warm, moist areas.
    3. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is impossible for humans to detect without technological assistance. Since it is so hard to detect, carbon monoxide can kill without warning in large amounts. However, when exposed to small amounts the effects are not as bad and include flu-like symptoms. LEED for Homes suggests installing a carbon monoxide monitor on each floor in the home, not installing any unvented combustion appliances and putting doors on all fireplaces or woodstoves. Heating combustion systems should be either installed with closed combustion, have a power-vent exhaust system or be installed in a detached building.
    4. Formaldehyde is a chemical used in building construction that is made from combustion. It can be used in adhesives, preservatives and on fabrics as a permanent press. Formaldehyde is found most commonly within the home in pressed wood products because the glue forming the product is formaldehyde-based. These pressed wood products include plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard. Formaldehyde exposure can cause cancer but more commonly causes skin irritation, coughing or fatigue.
    5. We use many chemicals throughout the home without even considering the components that make up that chemical and how harmful they can be to our health and the environment. Many of these supplies contain chemicals that emit VOCs that lead to health problems and ozone depletion. These pollutants are found more inside the home rather than outside and can remain in the air for an extended time after use. Extended exposure to these chemicals can cause cancer, damage to the liver and nervous system, nausea, fatigue and dizziness among other things. As residential designers we should know and understand the eco- and health-friendly alternatives to these chemicals and help guide our clients to using these products; the best way is to teach by example and only use these products on projects.
    6. Radon is a naturally produced, radioactive gas that is undetectable to humans. Behind smoking, radon is a leading cause of lung cancer causing 20,000 deaths each year in America. Radon enters the home from the ground through cracks in the foundation and then becoming trapped inside the home.
    7. Stoves, fireplaces and chimneys can emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particles like soot into the air if not properly vented (or even if they are vented) greatly reducing the indoor air quality. If there are problems with the venting, the pollutants get pushed back into the home. To prevent this there should be a hood or ventilation around the stove and have air systems inspected frequently to ensure they are working properly.
    8. Pesticides are found in products used to kill insects and germs around the house, as well as in agriculture. Pesticides found in lawn products can be brought into the interiors as well. Surfaces within the house can act as collectors of pesticides, releasing them later causing health problems. Pesticide exposure leads to an increased chance of cancer as well as other problems like headaches, muscular fatigue and damage to many of the bodies functioning systems.
    9. VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, are released as a gas into the air and pose a great health risk. VOC’s are found in most newly manufactured products (unless they are specified as having little to no VOC’s) and are released through off-gassing. This includes the new carpet smell of room-to-room carpet and the new car smell that everyone loves. These gases are dangerous to personal health and also lead to the breakdown of the ozone layer. Since new products are used in design all the time there will always be the threat of VOC’s in every project. As a designer we will have to do the extra research to find products that attempt to limits the exposure to VOC’s.

  12. Mhyria Miller says:

    1) Asbestos is often used in building construction materials for fire-retardants and insulation. It is a mineral fiber that many manufacturers are trying to shy away from because of its negative effects. It’s mostly found in older homes in pipe and furnace insulation materials, asbestos shingles, millboard, textured paints and other coating materials, and floor tiles. Although there are no immediate symptoms, asbestos is known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis; all very serious forms of cancer.

    2) Biological pollutants are contaminants that are in our everyday life. Some examples of these contaminants include bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen. As one can see there are many foundations to these pollutants that must be considered when trying to minimize the effects of the contaminants.

    3) Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, toxic gas. The levels of CO vary, and the effects can be anywhere from flu like symptoms to death. LEED for homes suggests that all drywall and construction materials should have a tight seal, and that carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on every floor, on the wall sharing the garage, and on in the garage if there is not an outside fan that is always on.

    4) Formaldehyde is a chemical used to manufacture building materials as well as various household products. Because it is also a by-product of combustion and other natural processes it maybe apply to both indoor and outdoors concerning substantial concentrations. Various sources of formaldehyde in homes include: building materials, smoking, household products, and the use of un-vented, fuel-burning appliances. Pressed wood products are subject to contain an adhesive that contains urea-formaldehyde resins. Some wood examples include: hardwood plywood paneling, particle board, and medium density fiberboard. Medium density fiberboard has the highest risk of emitting the most formaldehyde considering it has the largest ratio of resin to wood.

    5) Considering household cleaning, maintenance, and personal care items are a part of our everyday lives, the issues that come with these tasks affect us tremendously. Many of these products are capable of emitting VOC’s, which are harmful gases that are in products such as: paint, paint strippers, pesticides, cleaning supplies, building materials and furnishings, copiers, printers, glues, cleaning and cosmetic products, hobby products and permanent markers. When VOC’s are emitted they can cause: nausea, head irritation, loss of coordination, liver, kidney and nervous system damage. On occasions some can cause cancer as well. The damage depends on the amount of exposure and how long you were exposed to it. When designing, the designer must be aware of the products that can release these harmful gases and educate the client on proper product selection. Things to research and know include: use household products according to manufacturer’s directions, provide plenty of fresh air when using products, throw away any unused or little-used containers safely, and buy quantities that you could use up fast. Also, never mix household care products unless label allows, and always keep out of reach of children and pets.

    6) Radon is a natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. It can cause health issues including cancer. It is actually the leading cause of lung cancer with people who do not smoke and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

    7) Stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys can release hazardous particles including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide if they are not installed or maintained properly. If fireplaces and wood stoves don’t have proper ventilation to the outside carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide will remain in the house causing health problems such as: dizziness, weakness, nausea, headaches, confusion, irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, shortness of breath and respiratory infection.

    8) Pesticides are semi-volatile organic compounds that are used to kill insects and bacteria. The use of pesticides can contribute to poor indoor air quality and can cause health concerns such as: irritation to the nose, eyes, and throat, as well as dizziness. Pesticides used outside can float to the interior causing these issues as well.

    9) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) are harmful gases that are emitted into the air from various products, paints, and sealants. As a designer I will thoroughly research products that contain low or NO VOC’s and implement them into my material and product selection process. Not only will I do my step in picking out products accordingly, but I will educate my clients as well. It is important to realize sustainability and improving indoor air quality does not end after the design process is done. The future is a huge component, and my clients will be educated so they can contribute to leading a more sustainable life.

  13. Alice Knowlton says:

    1. What is asbestos? What are asbestos health effects?
    Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used in building construction for insulation purposes. It can also act as a fire-retardant. It actually is a group of impure magnesium silicate minerals which occur in a fibrous form. There are two types of asbestos: chrysotile asbestos, which is most commonly used for industrial purposes; and amphibole asbestos. Asbestos is not used as often as it used to be, so it is mostly found in older homes. Asbestos can be found in damaged insulation, firproofing, acoustical materials, and floor tiles.
    Recently, studies have proven that asbestos is a very harmful product that can cause certain types of cancer such as mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal linings. It can also cause asbestosis, an irreversible lung scarring that can be fatal. A person’s risk increases with the number of fibers inhaled. Unfortunately, because the most dangerous asbestos fibers are so small that once a fiber is inhaled it can remain in the body and accumulate in the lungs.

    2. What are biological pollutants?
    Biological pollutants include bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen. There are various sources of these pollutants. Viruses are transmitted by humans and animals; pollens come from plants; bacteria are carried by people, animals, and soil & plant debris; and household pets have dander and saliva.

    3. What is carbon monoxide? How does LEED for Homes address CO issues?
    Carbon monoxide is a deadly, colorless, odorless gas. Because it is virtually undetectable to humans, carbon monoxide can kill you before you even know it’s in your home. About 170 people die per year due to CO. Things such as malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances (i.e. furnaces & ranges) cause the emission of CO to enter a home. Low levels of carbon monoxide exposure can cause flu-like symptoms in humans, however high levels can lead to death.
    LEED for Homes is very committed to significantly improving indoor air quality since recent studies have revealed the direct link between a person’s health and his home. There are many household products that contain hazardous pollutants such as carbon monoxide and radon that can be lethal if high levels are consumed. There are two pathways set up through LEED to achieve high indoor air quality and help prevent pollutants such as carbon monoxide from leaking into the house. The first pathway is to get the Energy Star with Indoor Air Package, which can earn a home a maximum of 13 points. Seven additional points can be added if credits such as third-party testing and enhanced local exhaust are achieved. The second pathway is a “Prescriptive Approach”, which includes moisture control, outdoor air ventilation, and radon protection among others. The Environmental Quality section of LEED for Homes encourages builders to prevent air pollution and improve air quality.

    4. What is Formaldehyde and pressed wood products?
    Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used to manufacture building materials and to produce many household products. There are various sources of formaldehyde including smoking, construction materials, and household products such as Lysol and certain toilet bowl cleaners.
    Pressed wood products are the main source of formaldehyde in the home because they are formed using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde resins. Materials in the home that are bound with UF resins include particle board for sub-flooring and cabinet shelves, hardwood plywood paneling for furniture and wall paneling, and medium density fiberboard, which are used for drawer fronts and and furniture tops. Medium density fiberboard has the highest emission rating of formaldehyde compared to other pressed wood products.

    5. What are the issues with household cleaning, maintenance and personal care? How do we as residential designers address this issue of cleaning, maintenance and care?
    Many household products such as paint, wax, cleaning solutions, and disinfecting products emit organic compounds when used and sometimes after they have been stored in a surface. These compounds, commonly known as VOC’s, include a variety of chemicals that have varying effects on human health and indoor air quality. Since about 90% of people’s time is spent indoors, it has become an increasingly significant task of designers and builders to reduce indoor air pollution by using low- or zero-VOC products.
    As designers, we have many responsibilities related to creating healthy indoor environments. Not only do we need to install zero- and low-VOC materials and products, but we must also closely monitor how each product is placed in the home. Creating a healthy indoor air quality also has a lot to do with the sustainable practices of the homeowner. Using non-toxic household products and zero-VOC paints can have a huge impact on the long-term affects of the quality of the indoor environment.

    6. What is radon?
    Radon is a very dangerous, radioactive gas that can cause cancer. Unfortunately, it can’t be smelled, tasted, or seen making it very difficult to detect in a space. Studies have shown that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smoking humans, and claims about 20,000 lives every year.

    7. What is the issue with stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys?
    These are all potential sources of combustion in a home, and can cause pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other particles. If a chimney isn’t installed properly or a stove is unvented, these pollutants can be released into the home, often without any trace.

    8. What is the issue with pesticides?
    It has been discovered that most people’s exposure to pesticides occurs indoors (80%), which is shocking since pesticide products are used to kill weeds, pests, and certain types of plants. Possible sources include contaminated soil that is tracked in from outdoors and household surfaces that collect and release the pesticides. Exposure to pesticides can be poisonous to humans, especially in children. If used incorrectly, pesticides can be quite dangerous.

    9. Using your own words, explain VOC’s in general and how they will relate to your design practice.
    Before researching VOC’s and their effect on indoor air quality and human healthy, all I knew was that they were harmful to people if exposed to them and were bad for the environment. While both of these facts are true, it is a much deeper issue than that. Studies show that VOC’s have an impact on the outdoor air quality as well as indoor, making it more than just a problem within the home. As a designer, we must have a higher knowledge about VOC’s and their impact on the environment in order to make smart design decisions such as what types of materials to use, how to apply paints and finishes on certain products, and how to instill proper sustainable practices in the builder and the client.

  14. Anna Averett says:

    1. What is asbestos? What are asbestos health effects?
    Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber commonly found in certain building materials such as insulation and can also be used as a fire-retardant. It is mostly found in older homes that used products with asbestos, before the harmful environmental and health effects were widely known. Asbestos may be found in insulation materials, millboard, asbestos shingles, floor tiles, certain paints, and other coating materials. If a material containing asbestos is disturbed or damaged in any way, the toxic fibers will be release into the air and cause detrimental health effect to those who are exposed to the substance. Though symptoms may not be apparent immediately after exposure to asbestos, they can cause long-term harmful diseases such long diseases, including lung cancer and asbestosis, where asbestos fibers scar the lungs; and abdominal cancer, or more specifically, mesothelioma.

    2. What are biological pollutants?
    Biological pollutants are harmful contaminants are, or are produced by living things. They include bacteria, mold and mildew, dust, viruses, animal droppings and saliva, roaches (absolutely disgusting), and pollen. These pollutants accumulate in areas that provide food, moisture, or water, and can also be found in areas where dust collects, such as beds, rugs, blankets, and draperies. Controlling humidity levels in the home is crucial in order to prevent the spread of biological contaminants. Molds, mildew, and dust will flourish in damp, warm environments, especially in standing water and water-damaged materials, such as a leak in a roof or spilt water on a rug. These pollutants are so easily spread because we are exposed to them in our living environments every day, and many are so small that they can be inhaled without us even realizing it happened.

    3. What is carbon monoxide (CO)? How does LEED for Homes address CO issues (see multiple approaches in LEED-H EQ section)?
    Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is so toxic that it can kill you before you are even aware of its presence in your home. Exposure to this toxic gas can be a result of an unvented gas-fueled appliance, leaking chimneys, back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces, gas stoves and other gasoline fueled equipment, car exhaust, and cigarette smoke. LEED for Homes addresses CO issues by requiring all combustion venting appliances to meet certain codes which include that all vented appliances must be vented; a CO monitor must be installed on each floor; all fireplaces and stoves must have doors; and space and water heating equipment that involves combustion must meet certain ventilation requirements. Furthermore, LEED for Homes offers credits for meeting certain requirements and/or trade-offs. Some trade-offs include improving the building envelope to prevent air leakage and to prevent air pollutants from entering the house. Also a fan should be located in the garage area to keep a continuous air exchange that keeps the air clean.

    4. What is Formaldehyde and pressed wood products?
    Formaldehyde is a chemical commonly used in the fabrication of construction material and several products found in the home. It is used to enhance the performance of manufactured processes. For example, in dry-cleaning, formaldehyde is used to add permanent-press; in wood products, it is part of the adhesives that make up the wood pieces; and in paints it serves as a preservative. In residential construction, formaldehyde is most commonly found in wood products and cabinets. Pressed wood products make up many of these household materials, and are the most significant source of formaldehyde in the home. They use glues and adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins that tend to emit formaldehyde into the indoor environment. This can be harmful to the health of the inhabitants of the home.

    5. What are the issues with household cleaning, maintenance and personal care? How do we as residential designers address this issue of cleaning, maintenance and care?
    Cleaning and maintenance products often contain VOC’s, which are harmful, chemically-infused gases that may cause short-term or long-term heath problems. Such products include paint products, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment, craft materials, glues and adhesives, permanent markers, wood preservatives, and many more. As designers, we must take into consideration the harmful effects of these common household items and make sure our clients are aware of their adverse effects. Then we can specify eco-friendly products that have minimal to no VOC emissions. We should try and specify as many low VOC products as possible, in everything from the paint and wood finishes, to the cleaning supplies and any other materials used during the construction and installation process. It is imperative that we inform our client on proper maintenance and care of their furnishings, and the importance of using low VOC products in maintaining their home.

    6. What is radon?
    Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that can have detrimental health effects and can cause cancer. It is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. It is present in both indoor and outdoor environments and is a result of the decay of naturally occurring uranium in water and soil. Radon is often found in the basement of homes where the soil has direct contact with the building.

    7. What is the issue with stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys?
    Stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and heaters are sources that may release carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles into the open air. Also, combustion gases (produced by those products) and particles come from improperly installed chimneys that may have been maintained poorly. Stoves and fireplaces can cause back-drafting that pull pollutants back into the indoor environment, where they will settle and begin to infect. Combustion gases from these products causes harmful health problems for those exposed to them. Thus, proper installation and responsible maintenance are crucial for such combustion products.

    8. What is the issue with pesticides?
    Pesticides find their way into the majority of U.S. homes in the form of disinfectants or insecticides. Other sources of pesticides include contaminated dust particles are tracked indoors, stored pesticide containers, and certain household surfaces. Common household pesticides include products that try to prevent insects, termites, rodents, fungi, and microbes from entering and expanding in and around the home. These products can be potentially dangerous if used improperly or if users are over-exposed. This is especially important when children are involved.

    9. Using your own words, explain VOC’s in general and how they will relate to your design practice.
    VOC’s are very common in material finishes and new furnishings, which are directly related to interior design. As a designer, I need to be aware of their presence, and be able to properly ventilate the house in order to successfully flush out and diminish these harmful chemicals. It is important to note the paints, carpets, fabrics, woods, and other materials that have the tendency to off-gas VOC’s. During installation of these products, I will need to ensure proper ventilation by scheduling time during the construction processes for a VOC flush, where off-gassing releases harmful particles into the air, that are soon able to be redirected out of the house. Choosing low VOC products and education my clients about these products will also be very beneficial in creating a healthy living environment. The most important issue is being aware of low VOC products, knowing how to properly remove VOC’s when needed, and finally making sure the clients understand the effects of VOC’s in their homes, and how to deal with them or avoid them all together.

  15. Amanda Cook says:

    1. What is asbestos? What are asbestos health effects?
    Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was once used for insulation and as a fire retardant in buildings. It can be found in old homes in piping, shingles, textured paints, and floor tiles. Many products such as insulation with asbestos have been banned by the EPA and CPSC because of Asbestos affects on human health. The material does not cause any immediate damage to the human body, but over time people exposed to asbestos can develop forms of chest and abdominal cancer such as mesothelioma. It also causes lung diseases like asbestosis, which is an accumulation of scar tissue in the lungs due to inhaling the tiny fibers in the material.

    2. What are biological pollutants?
    Biological pollutants are biological material in the household environment that cause adverse reactions in humans. They include bacteria, mold, mildew, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen. Pollutants can be passed through the air like pollen and house dust, from person to person like viruses, or be found around the house like pet dander, mites, and cockroaches.

    3. What is carbon monoxide (CO) ? How does LEED for Homes address CO issues (see multiple approaches in LEED-H EQ section)?
    Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that causes flu like symptoms when exposed. LEED for Homes says that carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each floor of the home and in rooms next to the garage. Also, drywall needs to be tightly sealed and the exhaust fan in the garage needs a carbon monoxide sensor or should run constantly to prevent the gas from entering the home.

    4. What is Formaldehyde and pressed wood products?
    Formaldehyde is a chemical used in many building materials and household products. In particular, it is used in the adhesive for pressed wood products like particleboard, hardwood plywood paneling, and medium density fiberboard.

    5. What are the issues with household cleaning, maintenance and personal care? How do we as residential designers address this issue of cleaning, maintenance and care?
    The main issue with household cleaning, maintenance, and personal care products is that they produce VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs can cause a range of symptoms including eye, nose, and throat irritation and headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea. VOCs are also thought to be responsible for some forms of cancer in humans. As designers, we can do a number of things to reduce the number of VOCs in the home. We can provide adequate ventilation to help circulate the air and remove VOCs as well as specify products in the home that will not produce VOCs. We can also make sure to follow manufacturer’s directions when using products and when products do produce VOCs, like carpet, allow them time to off gas.

    6. What is radon?
    Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell or taste that is reported to be the leading cause of cancer in non-smokers. Testing for radon in the home is easy and inexpensive. A level of 4 pCi/L or more lets homeowners know they have a high level of radon and should fix the problem. Radon testing is also now a frequent test done when buying or selling real estate.

    7. What is the issue with stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys?
    Stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys are sources of combustion products that release major pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles such as radon. If fireplaces and chimneys are improperly installed without an adequate way to exchange air with the outside, they can back draft these harmful pollutants into the home and cause problems associated with the pollutants such as cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma symptoms.

    8. What is the issue with pesticides?
    Pesticides cause a number of issues and are a major problem in the home because of their widespread use in dealing with bugs, rodents, fungi, and microbes. Symptoms include irritation to eye, nose, and throat and headache, dizziness, muscular weakness, and nausea. Long term exposure can result in damage to the liver, kidneys, endocrine and nervous systems and cancer.

    9. Using your own words, explain VOC’s in general and how they will relate to your design practice.
    Volatile organic compounds are harmful chemicals found in gases emitted by products used in the home. They cause many health problems for humans and for the surrounding environment. In my design practice it will be important to use products that emit fewer VOCs to increase the health of my clients. If using products that emit VOCs I will make sure to allow the products time to off gas and to provide adequate ventilation to let any subsequent VOCs to exit the home.

  16. katherine ward says:

    1. Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos is most commonly found in older homes, pipe and furnace insulation materials, asbestos shingles, millboard, textured paints and other coating materials, and floor tiles. There is no immediate risk with asbestos but long term exposure may cause chest and abdominal cancers and lung disease. In most cases, asbestos materials pose as no risk and should be left in their place. If the product crumbles easily it should be considered as a health hazard and the right precautions should be taken.

    2. Biological pollutants are or are produced by living things. Some examples of biological pollutants are: bacteria, mold, mildew, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, dust, miter, cockroaches, and pollen. These pollutants can cause/act as allergic reactions in some people.

    3. Carbon monoxide is a toxic, odorless, and colorless gas.In small exposures it can cause flu-like symptoms while large doses can be fatal. Carbon monoxide can only be detected by a device. LEED requires that there be a detector on every floor of the home and any walls next to the garage. Also, in the garage there needs to be a vent that runs continuously and a detector.

    4. Formaldehyde is a chemical that is widely used in the industry in manufacturing building materials and household products. The most significant source of formaldehyde is in pressed wood products. Examples of these pressed wood products include particle board, hardwood plywood paneling but

  17. ellie christopher says:

    1. Asbestos is a naturally created mineral. It used to be used for insulation, fire retardants, shingles, paints, and floor tiles. Because organizations such as the EPA and CPSC found that over time the mineral builds up in the lungs and other parts of the body causing different types of cancer such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. These are caused by inhaling the tiny fibers of the mineral. This mineral can still be found in older homes and schools and must be carefully removed during renovations.

    2. Biological pollutants are things such as mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses, dust mites, pollen, etc that are found in homes that can be very harmful to the people that live in the house. Pollen and dust can be transfered though the air. People transfer viruses to each other, and pet dander, mites, and cockroaches can be found throughout the house. these can be a little bit of a pain when it comes to allergies etc.

    3. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that when exposed to it can cause flu like symptoms. LEED for Homes wants carbon monoxide detectors to be placed on each floor of the home and in room next to a garage. LEED also wants all the drywall to be tightly sealed and there should be an exhaust fan with a carbon monoxide sensor or if it doesn’t have a sensor then it should run all the time to keep it from getting into the house.

    4. Formaldehyde is a chemical commonly used to preserve dead bodies, but it is also used in a lot of building materials and products in the home. It is commonly used for pressed wood products like particle board, plywood, and medium density fiberboard.

    5. The main issue with house hold cleaning products is that they product VOCs or volatile organic compounds. The interior designers can combat this are to provide adequate ventilation to keep the air in the home circulating, choosing products that don’t produce VOCs, and allow products that will produce these chemicals to air out for a while.

    6. Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. It is inexpensive for a home owner to test the levels of radon. Levels of 4 pCi/L means that radon is high and needs to be taken care of. It is important to test a home for radon during home inspection before buying a house. Radon has been labeled the number one cause for cancer in non-smokers.

    7. Combustion products such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and even radon can be released from everyday home items like stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys. If fireplaces and chimneys are not installed in a way that allows for air exchange with the outside, they can allow this air to back draft into the house, and this can cause problems such as cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma symptoms.

    8. Pesticides are commonly used to kill bugs off crops, rodents, fungi, and microbes, but if in the home they can cause widespread issues. There are several symptoms such as irritation to eye, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, muscular weakness, and nausea. If you are exposed to these pesticides for long amounts of time, it could result in damage to the liver, kidneys, endocrine, nervous systems, and even cancer.

    9. Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that are emitted from products in your home such as carpet that may cause health problems. When I get into the design world, I will have to specify products that don’t produce VOCs, allow products that will off gas to air out and let the VOCs get out of the product, and most importantly make sure that the house has proper ventilation. This is something that I will take into account in all aspects of my design.

  18. David Jasper says:

    1. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that can be toxic. It is a flame retardant and used as insulation in older homes. Asbestos had cause serious illness when inhaled such as malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Because of these it is no longer used as a building material in the US or Europe.

    2. Biological containments are containments such as mold, mildew, bacteria and even pet dander, to name a few. These are all things that can be floating through the air of a typical home and lead to decreased air quality. The HVAC system can be a breeding ground for these containments and helps disperse them throughout the house. By controlling the relative humidity in the home many of these indoor biological pollutants can be severely reduced.

    3. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, highly toxic gas. LEED certification says that a carbon monoxide detector should be placed on every floor and one should be on the shared wall of the garage. Also, drywall by the garage should be tightly sealed to keep out any carbon monoxide fumes and there should be a garage exhaust vent and CO monitoring system.

    4. Formaldehyde is a chemical used in the processing and manufacturing of many building materials. Because of its use in construction it is one of the most common indoor air pollutants. Exposure to formaldehyde is usually a problem when inhaled because it can be toxic, allergenic, and carcinogenic. Pressed wood is the most common use of formaldehyde because the resins and glues used in the pressed wood contain formaldehyde.

    5. The big problem with household cleaning and care products is that they release VOCs into the air. VOC are Volatile Organic Compounds and are something we look to reduce in our homes. These VOC can cause an abundance of indoor air quality problems and should be minimized as much as possible. As designers it is important to leave our clients with not only good design but a way to healthfully care for the design. Thing like leaving a cleaning manual with our clients or properly explaining the way things work to our clients is the best way to get them to properly and safely care for their home.

    6. Radon is a colorless, tasteless, naturally occurring, radioactive gas that comes from the decay of radium. It is one of the heaviest gases and is known to cause health problems. Radon gas can accumulate in buildings, especially in confided areas like basements. Breathing in concentrated amounts of radon gas causes cancer and is thought to be the second most frequent cause of lung cancer following smoking. There are ways of removing radon gas from a home and it has turned into a business for some people who specialize in radon gas removal.

    7. Stove, fireplaces, and chimneys can all contribute negatively to indoor air quality because they all, if installed improperly can release toxins into the air. By making sure all of these are installed properly and properly maintained the indoor air quality can be kept at acceptable levels.

    8. The problem with many pesticides is that they are harmful to humans as well as the insects they are targeting. Many people are sensitive to pesticides so it is important to monitor and regulate exactly what is being used in the home. There are newer, better products constantly coming out and they are starting to be less of a health hazard, but at the very least it is a good idea to properly ventilate after using these products to maintain acceptable IAQ.

    9. A VOC is anything organic that turns into a gas. There are millions of known VOCs in the world so it is mainly about reducing exposure to the ones that are known to be harmful. VOCs from paints, glues, plastics, carpeting, and other construction are not good to be exposed to. As designers precautions should be taken and an effort should be made to use low or no VOC products. Also, letting products air out or installing them long before people will be living in the house are good ways to minimize their effect and increase IAQ.

  19. Brooks Johnson says:

    1. What is asbestos? What are asbestos health effects?

    Asbestos is a fiber found in insulation of buildings, and is also a fire-retardant. While many manufacturers have limited their use of asbestos, the EPA has banned other types of asbestos completely. Asbestos can be most commonly found in older homes today. Although there are no immediate symptoms when being exposed to asbestos, the long term effects include: chest and abdominal cancer, and lung disease.

    2. What are biological pollutants?

    These pollutants include mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen. These pollutants can be transferred into the home in many different ways: by human, by animal, by plant…etc.

    3. What is carbon monoxide (CO) ? How does LEED for Homes address CO issues (see multiple approaches in LEED-H EQ section)?

    CO is an odorless, colorless yet TOXIC gas. Because it is hard to detect, CO can kill someone before even knowing it exists in their home.

    4. What is Formaldehyde and pressed wood products?

    Formaldehyde is a chemical used in many building materials and household products. The chemical performs various functions such as: add permanent-press to clothing, acts as a component in glues/adhesives, and also helps preserve paints. In homes formaldehyde is found in pressed-wood products that are bound with adhesives. Formaldehyde can cause burning to the eyes and throat. High levels of this can cause asthma attacks.

    5. What are the issues with household cleaning, maintenance and personal care? How do we as residential designers address this issue of cleaning, maintenance and care?

    Some of these products can emit VOC’s into the air indoors, which can have negative short and long term effects on humans. Organic chemicals are used in many household products: paints, wax, cleaning, disinfectants…etc. These organic chemicals can have a concentration up to ten times higher than the outdoors, which is why having these products inside is such an issue. As designers we can make our client aware of the dangers of VOC’s in the air. We can also increase ventilation in areas where these products are used.

    6. What is radon?

    Radon is a natural radioactive gas that you cant see, smell or taste; that can cause cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer today. A family can get their home tested for radon by hiring a professional, or buying a test kit to use in their home.

    7. What is the issue with stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys?

    These combustion products can release carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles into the air. These pollutants are emitted when stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys do not have properly installed ventilations.

    8. What is the issue with pesticides?

    Pesticides have a variety of chemicals in different forms, and are considered semi-VOC’s. Pesticides are inherently toxic and are used in MANY homes across the US. The health effects include dizziness, irritation of throat and nose, damage to organs.

    9. Using your own words, explain VOC’s in general and how they will relate to your design practice.

    VOC’s are gases that are emitted into the air from various products. These compounds can have severe health effects when exposed to humans. Knowing about VOC’s is important for designer so that they know how to educated their client on things such as household cleaning products: when to throw out, how to store. And also is important so that designers can create a living space that is healthiest for their client.

  20. Katherine Ward says:

    oops!

    5. Certain materials such as cleaning supplies, paint strippers, building materials and furnishings, disinfectants, etc. all contain Volatile Organic Compounds that are emitted into the air as gases from certain solids or liquids. Designers can prevent this or help this issue by installing proper ventilation and choosing products carefully. Also products should be allowed time to “off-gas” before entering the home.

    6. Radon is a radioactive gas that can’t be seen, smelled, or tasted. It is a result of the decay of naturally occuring uranium in water and soil. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It is easy and inexpensive to test for and a vent can also be run through the house specifically for radon.

    7. There are many sources of combustion products in which major pollutants are released such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles. Chimneys and flues need to be properly installed or maintained as well as stoves and gas heaters.

    8. Pesticides that are commonly used to kill bugs, rodents, fungi, and microbes, can cause widespread issues in the home. Several symptoms can include allergy-like effects plus nausea, dizziness, and muscular weakness. Long term exposure can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, endocrine, nervous system, and cancer.

    9.Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals that are emitted in certain gases that are released from certain solids or liquids. Many products are or can include: paints, lacquers, paints strippers, cleansers, building materials and furnishings, etc. They can cause many health problems for the homeowners and it will be my job to prevent any real harm from happening. I will be responsible with my product selection in making sure that the chemicals used are not too harmful and allowing the products to “off-gas” before entering the home. I will also plan for adequate ventilation to benefit the overall IAQ.

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