HEALTHY FINISHES This site contains a short introduction to healthy construction finishes, links to publications and resources for more information, a list of places to buy healthy building materials, and must-read books.

The Health of our Environment
is of utmost importance when we're building new structures or remodeling existing ones. Governments license design professionals to protect public safety, but until recently, have not concerned themselves with the health factors of construction materials and interior air quality of new and renovated buildings. Prior to the 20th century Chemical Age, builders constructed with natural materials, and designers' biggest health concern was moving heating, cooking, and plumbing gases outside. In the second half of the 20th century, builders began to use chemical, human-made, and environmentally harmful materials. Buildings were sealed to save energy, and gases could not get outside. Now, the indoor air quality of a typically constructed house can be worse then the air in major urban areas. Again and again, studies show that indoor air quality greatly affects daily health and productivity.

The Health of the Global Environment is also important. The manufacture and transportation of construction materials greatly affects the global environment. Builders and homeowners need to recognize the responsibility of our personal and collective actions (and inactions) when we build. Until The Next Industrial Revolution (see below) reverses unhealthy manufacturing patterns, we need to examine the health effects of each investment we make. The health of our children depends on us.

Healthy Indoor Construction Materials are not available everywhere, but they are becoming more available as consumers demand them. Look for products that have few or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and that have few health hazards for trades people and occupants. Also look for renewable resources that are produced with recycled materials and sustainably transported. Many of these products are new and renewed, yet derived from historical methods. Some companies falsely advertise "green" products. It's a good idea to do careful research of new "green" products prior to purchase. You can contact environmental organizations for information, ask experienced green professionals for advice, and shop with companies with an established history of providing green products. Below is a short list to help you with your research.




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