Archive | Healthy & Safe Homes RSS feed for this section

Update on Corrosive Drywall / Sheetrock

US homes use drywall for their interior walls

We’ve heard about recent quality problems with Toyota cars. We’re not surprised to get a postcard for a recall on our cars and with only a few car manufacturers, they’re able (required?) to keep track of owners and send out recall notices. Our homes are stick built, using 1,000s of pieces of wood, copper, etc which come from 100s of manufacturers, making it almost impossible to monitor the safety of each component in home construction.

Building materials have primarily been manufactured in the US, with the exception of high end appliances and cabinets imported from Europe. As the global... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Our Homes: How Safe are They?

People have always considered their home to be a safe haven, where we eat, sleep and relax with our families. We take for granted that our homes are safe but how do we know this? We’re living longer so we expect to see more illness but how do we account for increases in childhood diseases like autism? There are 2 forces driving new building codes – those that make homes more energy efficient and those that focus on home safety, and these need to be carefully balanced.

How Safe are Our Homes?

In the US, new home construction is subject to building... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Lead Paint Statistics You Can’t Ignore

Like you I’m a home owner and a parent. I also own a handyman business so I’ve been struggling with the the EPA’s new ruling for Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP Rule) which takes effect April 22, 2010. It’s too soon to tell how the construction and real estate industries will respond, even with fines up to $37,500 for those who earn a living that involves home repairs and remodeling.

More important to me is helping home owners understand and determine how they should respond … as unfortunately the EPA isn’t broadcasting this information besides a pamphlet on the web, Renovate... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }

New EPA Rules for Lead Safety

Beginning in April 2010, strick new EPA rules go into effect for all renovation, repair and painting projects in homes built before 1978. The rules focus on lead present in paint sold prior to 1978. Lead if swallowed or breathed can poison people, and young children are especially vulnerable.

Damages children’s nervous system causing developmental and behavioral problems. In adults, causes health problems and pregnant women are especially vulnerable.

All contractors (includes carpenters, electricians, plumbers, window installers, painters), property managers and others who perform renovations, repair and painting work in residential houses, apartments and child-occupied facilities built before 1978, are required to... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Video Showing How Popcorn Ceilings are Removed

A short while back, I wrote several posts about removing popcorn ceilings. It’s a very messy process and if you’ve not done it before, you want to cover your walls and floor with plastic.

Step 1 should always be to get your popcorn texture tested for asbestos, and if the results are positive you should use a professional for removal (required in some states like California). There are several articles you can read … just click on “Ceilings / Walls” to the right.

The video will give you a feeling for the steps involved, but also realize this guy is a pro... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Consumer Alert: Child Safety

Yesterday the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) along with the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) announced a voluntary recall to make repairs to Roman shades and roll-up blinds. Both of these window coverings involve cords that can cause strangulation to young children. To help you visually see what can happen with these cords, here are the photos on the CPSC web site:

Safety Recall for Roman Shades and Pull Up Blinds Risk of Strangulation to Young Children per CPSC

Roman Shades

Roll Up Blinds

Similar problems were identified as early as 1994 when the CPSC and WCSC announced recalls to repair horizontal... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Home Safety Starts with Prevention

This week is Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, and the theme is “Stay Fire Smart, Don’t Get Burned”. Burns are painful and easily avoided so take a few moments to review the following burn prevention checklist.

Whenever you are considering repairs around your home, remember …

Safety is Your #1 Priority at Home Keep young children away from anything hot, in the kitchen and elsewhere. Keep your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees, to avoid scalding someone. When giving your children a bath, check the temperature personally. Be careful with open flames – watch loose clothing, don’t leave the room and if you have... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Why Home Dryers Need Proper Maintenance

Clotheselines Save Energy

Clotheselines Save Energy

Clothes dryers were invented in Europe in the early 1800 with a barrel-shaped metal drum with holes, turned by hand over a fire. The first American dryer patent was issued to George Sampson in 1892. As dryers evolved they have replaced the original dryer, a clothes line.

As home owners focus more on saving energy and protecting the environment, many are going back to the traditional clotheslines during nice weather.

While dryers are very simple machines, they should not be taken lightly. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 1998, clothes dryers were associated with 15,600... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Product Alert: Chinese Made Drywall

US homes use drywall for their interior walls

After reading about this drywall problem a second time, I decided it was time to alert you to potential problems with drywall manufactured in China. The problems being reported, alledged to have high levels of sulfur, include:

Sulfur based gases which smell like rotten eggs. Piping and wiring corroded after just a few years, causing electronics and appliances to fail.

The problem appears to be in the southeast, primarily Florida and to a lesser degree, Alabama and Louisiana. They believe the problem stems from increased drywall imports in 2004 and 2005, during the housing boom.... 

Read full story Comments { 0 }