Being environmentally conscious and friendly is widely acknowledged as increasingly important in building and renovating.
Equally important, but not nearly as well recognised however, are the health implications of building and renovating to professionals and DIYers, says the National Asthma Council Australia.
While there are standards covering some health issues, they are more concerned with controlling dangerous or harmful substances, rather than recognising products that may offer relative benefits.
The National Asthma Council’s Sensitive Choice program addresses this shortfall by recognising products and services that may be a better choice for people with asthma and allergies.
More than seven million Australians have allergies, including asthma, hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis and eczema. These conditions can be triggered by dust mites, pollen, mould, pets, cold weather and more.
Speaking about how to better prevent and manage critical health conditions when building or developing, Adam Trumble, the National Asthma Council’s Partnerships Manager, said:
“It is recognised that avoiding triggers effectively reduces the impact of allergy conditions, and we recommend that people do what they can to reduce exposure to potential causes.
“In building and renovation, product selection can make a significant difference to people’s health as well as the environment. The Council’s Sensitive Choice program therefore recommends products and services that consider both of these important factors.”
Some issues relevant to asthma and allergy and homes are:
- Relative humidity below around 55 per cent will discourage the growth of mould (mould spores are an allergen and mould is an important element in the dust mite cycle)
- Excessively dry air should also be avoided, as viruses prefer cool, dry air
- Cold temperatures can cause asthma symptoms – insulation and heating can assist
- Wood fires and unflued gas heaters should be avoided
- Ventilation can be a cheap and effective method of reducing humidity and mould growth
- Built-in heat-recovery ventilation or air-conditioning systems should have effective filtration
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and glycol ethers should be avoided where possible. Many products, such as MDF and paint, have low or no VOC options
- The wrong carpet may harbour allergens (in particular mould and dust mites), but there are carpets and underlays that will resist rot and microbial growth
- Gardens can be the source of pollen allergens – most of the problems are caused by imported species
Sensitive Choice approved products relevant to home builders and renovators include:
|Beaulieu of Australia||Brease carpet – solution dyed nylon treated with an anti-microbial – resists rot, mould and dust mites|
|CSR Building Products||Bradford Insulation & Edmonds Ventilation – non allergenic|
|Daikin Australia||Residential Split System Air Conditioners and Air Purifiers – filtered|
|Dunlop Flooring||Comfort Choice underlay – treated with an anti-microbial – resists rot, mould and dust mites|
|Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)||HRV Heat Recovery Ventilation system – filtered|
|MAFI Timber||MAFI natural timber flooring and walling – no VOC|
|Nikpol P/L||MDF Board and Worktops – low formaldehyde|
|Olde World Paints Pty Ltd||Zerotox linseed oil paints with natural pigments – no VOCs|
|PPG Industries Australia||Taubmans low VOC and anti-microbial paints|
For further information, or to arrange an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact:
The Reputation Group
Mob: 0432 091 696