Another story of a family affected by chemicals inside the home. Please watch these videos! Education is Power.
Published on May 5, 2015
CINCINNATI (Paula Toti) — A recent report by the CBS news program “60 Minutes” has home owners around the country thinking twice about the air they breathe. The report focused on the glue in some laminate flooring coming in from China sold by Lumber Liquidators. CBS says the floors emit dangerous levels of formaldehyde.
The issue is raising fears about other floors and items we bring into our homes. Betty Sutton has a beautiful home. It’s been remodeled with new tile, carpet, bamboo laminate, and even a bright new sun room. Her daughter Janet Scruby says within a couple of months her mom developed a cough and progressed to a point she saw a doctor in November of 2013. Since then there have been a lot of doctors and tests about a deep persistent cough. It’s so bad she asked for water and walked away at times during the Local 12 interview. Before the remodeling Betty Sutton said, I was a healthy, 85-year-old you can imagine. The doctors Betty has seen have no specific answers on what’s causing her cough. When the family saw the “60 Minutes” piece on Lumber Liquidators they began to wonder about their building items that came from other retailers. Health concerns raised in the piece seem similar to what Betty is experiencing.
Even so, her daughter says it’s hard to know what to do. It’s hard to find the right people to do the testing. Companies selling do-it-yourself test kits on the internet have big back logs because of so many new fears. Local 12 News put Betty in touch with a home inspector who’s also an indoor air quality assessor. Mike Hesterberg of Home Inspections, LLC, says testing for formaldehyde is just one VOC, or volatile organic chemical, people should be concerned with. There’s a lot in a home. Even pressed board furniture can release fumes that can be harmful, especially to those who have certain sensitivities. Mike Hesterberg said, A lot of floor, paints, coatings and fabrics can be harmful. He’s found people have gotten sick storing a lawn mower in a garage. Gas fumes can leak into the home. Medications can give off harmful fumes. Chemicals stored near a furnace can back draft toxins into the house. Some things are getting better. The EPA estimates the level of formaldehyde in home products has been reduced 80 to 90 percent. However, many people live in airtight homes.
This keeps the bad air trapped inside; ventilation is essential. In fact, if people are found to have a sick home an expert may suggest more open windows and doors along with continuous fans. When people think remodeling they should certainly think about health. The painting industry has been ahead of the curve for several years offering low VOC paints. There’s a growing number of consumers asking the home improvement industry for more accountability when it comes to their health and the environment. Ken Weisbacher, owner of Carpetland, said, Our best-selling carpet line is made from recycled pop bottles. How wonderful is that? At Carpetland they began a data base a few years ago that sources everything about a product down to any third party testing, going beyond the labels found on the box. Nancy Kibbee, Carpetland’s natural product’s director, said, We wanted it in place because consumers are becoming more knowledgeable. This industry has followed, trailed behind organic foods.
The government is enacting tougher standards on indoor air quality for building products by the end of the year, based on California standards. There are standards for flooring Lumber Liquidators was found to have violated. All retailers should have on file disclosure forms which list all chemicals. Test results from Betty’s home came back; total indoor air quality was considered by government standards to “need improving” to avoid health risk. One measure of alcohol based vapors was most concerning, with levels considered “severe”. Now come tough decisions. While Local 12 doesnt know how this familys story will end, we do know what they said before the test. Betty’s daughter said if they had the slightest suspicion the building materials were making Betty sick, they would remodel again. Hopefully with guidance simple fixes will be found. The lab used in the case offers ongoing support for a fee. The ongoing support is something else to keep in mind if people are checking to see if their house is making them sick