Air sup­ply

Let’s look at our hous­ing health if we want to re­solve the prob­lems with in­door air qual­ity and New Zealand’s chronic res­pi­ra­tory ills.

Element - - Home - By Gavin Healy­ www.asth­mafoun­da­

New Zealand now has a ro­bust body of national ev­i­dence about the health ben­e­fits of warmer, drier homes with lower lev­els of volatile or­ganic com­pounds (VOCS). They sound like the flat­mates from hell and they ac­tu­ally are. VOCS have a low boil­ing point, which causes the mol­e­cules to evap­o­rate from a prod­uct and en­ter the sur­round­ing air. Many VOCS are dan­ger­ous to hu­man health. They in­clude both man-made and nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring chem­i­cal com­pounds; typ­i­cally not acutely toxic, but in­stead have com­pound­ing long-term health ef­fects. Glob­ally re­search is link­ing man-made VOCS from ev­ery­day prod­ucts such as paint, kitchens, fur­ni­ture, plas­tics in com­put­ers and copiers to can­cers, asthma and al­ler­gies.

Long term VOC con­tam­i­na­tion con­trib­utes to sick build­ing syn­drome – a build­ing that ac­tu­ally makes the in­hab­i­tants ill. Un­til the re­cent launch of Homes­tar™ from the New Zealand Green Build­ing Coun­cil we had no way of know­ing if that new home or flat lit­er­ally had a killer view. Krista Ferguson, Homes­tar di­rec­tor, ex­plains: “Homes­tar helps home own­ers make in­formed de­ci­sions about cre­at­ing warm, healthy and com­fort­able homes. At homes­ it takes about 20 min­utes to go through mul­ti­choice ques­tions about your home. You’ll get a rat­ing be­tween 0 and 10 and a prac­ti­cal, com­pre­hen­sive rec­om­men­da­tions re­port that high­lights where your home is do­ing well and where it needs some work.” A Homes­tar cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is a pru­dent thing to ask for if you are buy­ing or rent­ing a new place to live.

Con­di­tions such as asthma and em­phy­sema pose a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge to our national health – we have the sec­ond high­est rate of asthma in the world.

It af­fects one in four Kiwi kids and it is one of the lead­ing causes of hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions among chil­dren. An even more alarm­ing statis­tic is that Chronic Ob­struc­tive Pul­monary Dis­ease (COPD) which few peo­ple have even heard of is the 4th lead­ing cause of death in New Zealand. Although of­ten un­di­ag­nosed, it af­fects around 200,000 ki­wis over 45. COPD causes the bronchial tubes (or air­ways) to nar­row. The greater the nar­row­ing, the more dif­fi­cult breath­ing be­comes. COPD is an ir­re­versible dis­ease but is al­most en­tirely pre­ventable by avoid­ing ex­po­sure to to­bacco smoke.

Oc­cu­pants can take a num­ber of pre­cau­tions to try to keep their in­door air qual­ity healthy. The most im­por­tant is the need to smoke out­side as the chem­i­cals are very dam­ag­ing for small chil­dren, caus­ing se­vere asthma at­tacks and, in the long term, even deadly COPD. Mould should be de­stroyed im­me­di­ately us­ing a brand like Green Works nat­u­ral mul­ti­pur­pose cleaner and not stan­dard bleach which can cause even more prob­lems. A con­sis­tent tem­per­a­ture in the home is also ex­tremely im­por­tant. The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mends an in­door tem­per­a­ture of 18 de­grees and con­sid­ers any­thing be­low 16 de­grees po­ten­tially harm­ful to health. Keep­ing your home dry and hav­ing and hav­ing ad­e­quate ven­ti­la­tion will also greatly help. There are an enor­mous amount of house­hold prod­ucts that will make a big dif­fer­ence to your fam­i­lies’ health.


Asthma As­so­ciat

ion of New Zealand

has cre­ated Sen­si­tive the

Choice cer­tific which makes ation it eas­ier

to iden­tify con­sume r

prod­ucts im­prove that will in­door air

qual­ity and help peo­ple

with asthma and al­ler­gies


prod­ucts to give away Nat­u­ral­ has three

A Tencel® un­der­lay to El­e­ment mag­a­zine read­ers;

a Hi­malayan sheet which has an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties;

de­hu­mid­i­fier while salt crys­tal lamp which is a nat­u­ral

a beau­ti­ful warm re­leas­ing neg­a­tive ions. They have

Lastly, four Bam­boo glow and are great for a kids rooms;

odours, mois­ture, Char­coal Hei Cubes that ab­sorb

This cleans­ing chem­i­cals and elec­tro­mag­netic waves. pack­age is worth $330

nz, sign up for the To en­ter visit el­e­ment­ weekly news­let­ter and en­ter the draw.

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