Recently, on a family vacation to the ocean, one of our family members—
we’ll call him “Q”— was overcome with a fit of sneezing upon entering
the home we had rented for our stay.
The sneezing continued with little relief
for what seemed like HOURS!. The poor guy couldn’t seem to stop sneezing and wheezing. Finally we headed over to see the Doc. The diagnosis: “Extreme Allergies”… “Take a look around the place for culprits: carpet, fabric, bedding,” we were advised.. “There are hidden toxins in every living space.”
So, we were in the realm of indoor air quality and wondering where to start. According to Wikipedia, indoor air quality (IAQ) " deals with the content of interior air that could affect health and comfort of building occupants. The IAQ may be compromised by microbial contaminants (mold, bacteria), chemicals (such as carbon monoxide, radon), allergens, or any mass or energy stressor that can induce health effects.
Recent findings have demonstrated that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air (albeit with different pollutants) although this has not changed the common understanding of air pollution. In fact, indoor air is often a greater health hazard than the corresponding outdoor setting. Using ventilation to dilute contaminants, filtration, and source control are the primary methods for improving indoor air quality in most buildings."
We had suspected something of the sort, but now, hoping for ready relief for poor “Q”, we were on a mission!
We noticed that “Q’s” sneezing seemed to erupt full-force in the bedroom. We found newly installed carpeting with a distinct odor that was obvious when anyone entered the room. In our ECO certification course we had learned about this. It was "off-gassing"... .
Also, the carpet, made of nylon was quietly distributing little bits of plastic which "Q"was inhaling whenever he went in that room. In fact, “Q” actually wheezed when he spent a few minutes there.We closed the door and kept it closed.
If it could affect “Q” this way, imagine what it could do to the grandkids! Tiny bits of plastic in little kids lungs could contribute to serious respiratory complications, and research has shown that they do contribute to asthma on an increasing basis. When grandparents are unaware of such health issues, they cannot safeguard the children’s well-being (or their own.) ...But back to my story about "Q" and "Indoor Air Quality".
It turned out that our vacation rental, with its well-intentioned new carpet and fresh coat of paint was off-gassing toxic fumes. The newly slip-covered sofas and chairs, comfy though they were,were emitting formaldehyde. No wonder "Q" reacted.. It occurred to us that so many of us (including real estate professionals) simply do NOT know
how to limit exposure to toxins in the air, even right in our own homes. Yet, healthy indoor air quality is what I think of as essential.
Here's a question: Do you think this information has iimplications for REALTORS?
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