So this post might sound like a doom and gloom sky is falling post. But hear me out! There’s some really good information in here about protecting yourself and your loved ones in your new home! Have you heard about VOC‘s (volatile organic compounds)? Do you know about the dangers of Radon and formaldehyde? Have you looked into safe glues, structural components and finish products? Hopefully you have and the rest of this post will be old news.
Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at your regular room temperature. That umbrella term covers all sorts of different gasses and vapours. Now just to ensure I’m not labelled the crazy boogie man, VOCs are almost impossible to completely avoid. Do you have aerosol products in the house? Do you have scented candles or air fresheners? Do you have nail polish remover or wallpaper in your house? All these items contain traces of chemicals labelled as VOCs.
What you can do though, is reduce your exposure. VOCs can lead to a myriad of health issues or annoyances. It can cause headaches, sore throats, aggravated sinuses and other day to day nuisances. In the case of radon and formaldehyde however, the dangers are much greater. The Canadian Cancer Society has confirmed through tests that cancer risks are elevated when living daily with formaldehyde in the house. They have confirmed that in-home radon exposure is probably responsible for 16% of lung cancer deaths every year.
How do you reduce exposure? Your first line of defense should always be keeping it out of the home. Add a layer of taped insulation beneath your basement slab. This will work in conjunction with your vapour barrier to keep the radon out. Ensure your HRV and other components of your HVAC system don’t create a negative pressure in the house that will tend to “suck” up the radon. Avoid using products with higher concentration of urea formaldehyde, such as OSB, and in general if you can find low VOC products you’ll have a healthier home!
The more you can do upfront and during the build process, the less mitigation you’ll need to do down the road. However once the house is standing please do check for radon levels. If you need help with that come talk to us and we’ll set you up with Manitoba’s leading radon mitigation team and get you covered. It’s really easy! It’s really really worth it!