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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

A Significant Choice for a Healthy Life: Non-Toxic Building and Remodeling

Apr 02, 2013 01:25AM ● By Jonathan Synovic

For many people, choosing what to eat from a menu involves not only personal preferences and price, but also their wellbeing. Conscientious consumers look for wording or symbols that indicate a healthy menu option. When it comes to building or remodeling a home, selective shoppers find plenty of styles at various price points from which to choose, but they have little idea whether or not exposure to the products is safe.

Most people have not thought much about how harmful materials used to construct or remodel their homes can be. They may have considered green products, which are better for the planet, but eco-friendly materials or processing does not ensure that the product is healthy for the person that buys it. Products may be labeled green or environmentally safe but still contain chemicals that have been identified as creating health risks. For example, recycled carpet is a green product, but it still contains hundreds of chemicals that are toxic to inhale.

In the past few years, a number of manufacturers have developed safer building materials. But without proper labeling or a way to compare tags, how do shoppers know if products are truly nontoxic? For instance, several paints that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOC) can be found in stores, but many residents are unaware of a no-VOC paint that has been manufactured and available locally for years. Another example is windows. When it comes to replacing them, homeowners should do their research before installing vinyl or PVC options, because both emit VOCs. Fortunately, when it comes to windows, choices exist that are both healthy and more energy efficient.Source 1 Project Solutions

These are a few examples of opportunities to make choices for safer building materials in the home. Nontoxic options are becoming more readily available as customer awareness and demand rises and materials become more functional and compatible.

A few local resources can provide guidance for finding the safest and healthiest alternatives. The Green Design Center, in Waukesha, and Olive, Fine Organic Living, in Milwaukee, can offer help with the selection of merchandise and materials. Source 1 Project Solutions, in Butler, has a remodeling and building division dedicated to healthy building. Because we spend so much time in our homes, it seems that choosing building materials should be at least as important as our selection from a dinner menu.

Jonathan Synovic is president of Source 1 Project Solutions, Inc., located at 4535 N. 128th St., in Butler. For more information, call 262-912-0022 or visit