New Home? Toxic Pollutants Likely

New house, new furniture, new rugs, new paint… Everything seems fresh and clean in your new (or remodeled) home – except your indoor air. The smell of “new” might be nice, but it can also be harmful to you and your family’s health. We'll explore why and how in this post.

New house, new furniture, new rugs, new paint… Everything seems fresh and clean in your new (or remodeled) home – except your indoor air. The smell of “new” might be nice, but it can also be harmful to you and your family’s health.


You see, plenty of things that go into building, remodeling, and cleaning a house can get into the air and lower your interior air quality. This can lead to respiratory problems, and in sensitive individuals, much worse.

Below, we’ve outlined several common items in homes that give off compounds harmful to you and your family’s well-being. 

Flooring, Rugs, and Adhesives

New flooring, rugs, and adhesives often contain harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs have a higher vapor pressure at room temperature and become airborne. They can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, and frequent headaches once they get into the air. Long-term exposure is more serious and can damage the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system. 

Health effects ultimately depend on the length of exposure and concentrations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that many VOCs are found in higher concentrations indoors than outdoors (up to ten times higher). This would make sense since you’re in an enclosed area with a large number of products that give off VOCs.

Paint

In older homes, lead in paint poses a significant threat to health. If you’re remodeling an old house, you’ll have to take extra precautions for that paint. You may consider hiring a contractor that is EPA-certified to deal with lead paint renovations and repairs.

Fortunately, modern paints don’t use lead.

Now, freshly painted walls look beautiful, but even non-lead paint fumes release toxic and harmful chemicals into the air. Proper ventilation should be your first defense against paint fumes. However, even when the odors seem to leave your room or house, lingering microscopic particles remain. These can be especially harmful to babies, young children, and pregnant women.

Caulk and Sealants

Caulks and other sealants may include components — intended to improve each product’s flexibility — which also release various harmful VOCs inside your home depending on what the product is made of. 

It is essential to be aware of the products your builder uses, although you may not have much control over these options. Nonetheless, you can be prepared once you move into your home.

There are many options that are non-toxic and contain lower amounts of VOCs that release into the air. If you’re doing any remodeling work yourself, consider these options if they’re viable in your project.

Cleaning Products

Common household cleaning products may be helpful for scrubbing things down and leaving your new or remodeled home nice and shiny, but even these can pose a threat to your indoor air quality.

Bleach is a good example. Excessive inhalation of bleach fumes can be harmful for your body. Occasional bleach use is fine when handled safely, but if you’re using bleach constantly to clean, you may want to scale that back.

However, less potent cleaning chemicals can still be detrimental to your health. Even air fresheners can emit harmful pollutants into your indoor air.

Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t have to list all ingredients in their cleaning products. That said, you can still read the label and see if there are any indications the product contains a reduced amount or no VOCs and other similar ingredients.

Alternatively, soap and water are often helpful in many instances with less harmful byproducts. Baking soda also comes in handy for scrubbing things.

Breathe Easy in Your New (or Remodeled) Home

It’s vital to ensure that moving or remodeling doesn’t negatively impact your health.

Consider the quality of your indoor air, whether you’re buying a new home or remodeling your current one. Too often, we forget about the environment where we spend most of our time — after all, according to the EPA, we spend nearly 90% of our lives indoors.

One way to minimize the threat of these pollutants is to get yourself a powerful air purifier with a medical-grade HEPA filter. All of Medify’s purifiers are HEPA-13, eliminating 99.5% of particles from the air. See our selection of purification products here.

Clean-Air-Checklist-CTA

Leave a Comment