The house was new construction, Craftsman style. The gleaming surfaces and open floor plan was appealing. But on closer inspection one could see the cabinets, built-in's and box beamed ceilings were painted MDF. New carpet covered the second floor rooms. Even though the house was fully staged, the windows both up and downstairs had been left slightly ajar. The only natural wood product in the home was on the floor, finished a dark contrasting tone. In short, it was clear the house was filled with the off-gassing of the compounds used in all the finishes, more so than I had ever experienced in ten years of real estate work. I had serious concerns about my clients considering moving into this house, as it was impossible to say how long the house would be so toxic, so I advised against this one. The listing agent asked me to leave the doors and windows open.
Recent headlines have reported Lumber Liquidators as selling laminate flooring product with high levels of formaldehyde, bringing this topic to the fore again. While we now know that "new car smell" are VOC's from new materials used in their manufacture, what we did not know was that we were inhaling chemical compounds. These compounds are in everything from non-flammable pajamas and new mattresses to simple paint and are not heavily regulated in our country.
In today's marketplace, there are often alternatives choices that one can make when choosing finishes and . Green homes not only have higher standards for energy savings, but also address cleaner air. It gives the saying "home sweet home" a whole new meaning.