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HEALTHY HOMES
KEEP YOU FEELING WELL

Home owners today have awesome options to restore, build and beautify their habitats. And home specialists, such as architects, building suppliers and interior decorators, are satisfying environmental and green consumers increasingly these days. They are educating people how to relieve ailments for chemically sensitive, allergy, asthma and sinus sufferers in their homes. Residents without impairments are paying attention too. They want to contribute to the restoration of their home environment with the materials they purchase.

For good reasons, home builders and buyers have been energy conscious in the past few decades. That caused construction to change. Homes have been built more securely and tight in recent years. Then pollutants such as dust mites, animal related allergens and mold were gradually discovered as asthma triggers. Other home health hazards such as high accumulations of carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and radon became ongoing findings too.

What are the cures? First, adequately ventilate your home. But keep in mind that there is relief beyond filters for everything. Second, pay attention to what you are constructing with. Manufacturers of safe building materials are meeting public demands. Think nontoxic adhesives, paints, enamel varnishes, primers and the like to construct your materials.

When the idea of building houses out of straw bales began gaining popularity about ten years ago, you could hardly mention the idea without generating a glut of jokes about the three little pigs. But straw is becoming a significant natural resource in the building industry and several states have established codes for its use. Books on this material are readily available today.

Bamboo is another ecological resource that has been used for centuries and is now sweeping the nationís flooring industry. Tests prove it to be as solid as hard maple, and 50% more stable than red oak. Some enterprising natural builders are using bamboo for stair railings and delighting home buyers with personal finishing touches like bamboo chandeliers. Bamboo furniture is back in demand too.

People who suffer from home pollutants are usually advised to start material remedies in their bedrooms. Sleeping mattresses made of hemp are now available. Naturally mildew resistant and breathable make it an ideal material. The bast fibers are three times stronger than cotton and twice as resistant to abrasion. No laughing matters to chemically sensitive sufferers who typically choose to cover their bed with organic cotton sheets and an organically stuffed duvet. As for the bed frame, itís not so difficult to find a furniture maker today who can guarantee lumber from forests where ecologically sound harvesting methods are ensured or to recycle wood with nontoxic finishes.

Weíve never had a better selection of carpeting and area rugs than todayís choices of coir, hemp, jute, sisal and natural wool. Low-toxic pads are on the market too. Even the ancient method of coloring yarns from botanical dyes is resurfacing.

As a young girl I remember adults saying we couldn't live without chemicals. But the wiser we become, the more we scramble to breathe fresh air in and out of our homes. Natural materials cost a little more than synthetics, but the savings on your health could be immeasurable. If you breathe clean air you are bound to have a stronger immune system and if your body is strong you can better tolerate nature.

Do you still laugh at the three little pigs building the straw home? Does the mention of hemp still make you giggle? Could people be hypersensitive to pollens, fumes, and particles because of their unnatural setting? Hmm.

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