A modern American house will have a foundation and floor, four walls, and a roof, and some utilities and foam insulation in between. But that’s just a house, whereas a home has been fully furnished to become a living space for an entire family. Modern homeowners have a lot of considerations on their hands for the safety and appeal of their home, and this includes working with wood stain colors, clear varnish, air cleaning paints, the best paint for baby cribs, and more. Not everyone realizes it, but household materials such as paint and carpets sometimes give off what are known as VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, and this even happens with wood stain colors when wood stain materials are used. When using wood stain colors products or paint, homeowners may want to check the content of those materials before using them. This is especially true in the case of pregnant women, babies, children, those with allergies, anyone else who is most vulnerable. Ultimately, these VOCs and paint fumes are harmful to anyone, but babies and children in particular may be harmed by inhaling them. Fortunately, measures can be taken against that.
What is the big fuss about using wood stain colors or paint on a baby crib or new carpets? These items are everywhere, after all. However, the wrong sort of paint, or a dirty carpet, is liable to give off those VOCs, and these airborne VOCs will harm the health of anyone who is constantly exposed to them. In fact, many studies have been done in the United States and abroad to measure how serious this hazard is. In Sweden, a study found that children whose bedroom PGE concentrations were in the top 25% among the participants had a 100% higher chance of developing asthma. Those children also has a 150% higher chance of having eczema, and a 320% higher chance of having rhinitis.
A similar study was done to test cognitive consequences of VOCs on the human body. A recent study had participants work for six days in an office with environmentally-controlled air. In that office, VOC levels were lowered to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air and 40 cubic feet per minute of outdoor air per person. The results showed that on average, cognitive scores among those people were 101% higher than those of people working in conventional spaces.
Further, studies done by Cornell University show that 83% of travelers today would choose an allergy-friendly room if they could, and around 59% of travelers would choose one hotel room over another on merit of allergy-friendly options. Constant VOC exposure, in short, may hamper cognitive function, and create or worsen asthma and allergies in adults and especially in children. But simple and sensible steps can be taken to avoid this hazard.
The Right Paint and Carpets
Many homeowners indulge in interior decorating projects, such as using wood stain colors on wooden surfaces, painting a baby crib, putting down new rugs or carpets, and repainting the walls or putting up wallpaper. These projects may give off a lot of VOCs, but not if the homeowner knows what to look out for. This may be especially imperative when a baby is on the way or just arrived, or if a small child was adopted into the household. For one thing, carpets should be diligently vacuumed and deep-cleaned to remove all dirt and debris from them, including bacteria. Homeowners may even hire a maid service if they don’t have time to do this themselves. New rugs and carpets may also be kept outside for a few days and beaten hard to release some of the contaminants in them.
When using paint or glues, the homeowner may make sure that they are using hypoallergenic models, and they can consult hardware store staff about that. Some paints, such as for baby cribs and furniture, may be VOC-friendly, so an expecting parent may ask for such paints and use them. To compliment such paints, the homeowner may also use VOC-friendly glue, paint primer, and wood strains in the house, not to mention hypoallergenic baby blankets and clothing.