Buying a brand new house or car is one of the biggest purchases you are ever likely to make, and buying brand new – instead of used – can mean you get exactly what you want, whether it be granite countertops, or that perfect shade of red. One of the features some people like (and dislike) about these brand new things, however, is the immediately recognizable scent that comes along with new things.
So beloved by some it’s sold as an air freshener scent, this smell isn’t actually a good thing to have wafting around for your indoor air quality. This smell of newness is actually off-gassing chemicals used to put your new home or car together, and they can have serious health concerns in both the short and long term.
indoor air quality is likely low on the list of concerns for the owner of a brand new home. There are things to unpack, after all, and it smells new and clean – right? But that new house smell in your indoor air quality can come from a variety of sources, such as the formaldehyde used in particle board, and paints, glues, and sealants. As these materials cure and settle, they off-gas VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, into your indoor air quality.
To a certain extent, we’ve been conditioned to believe this smell in our indoor air quality is a good sign, but these VOCs can be very harmful to our health. Formaldehyde, for example, is a known carcinogen that is commonly used in building materials and household products. It is a strong-smelling gas, making it a recognizable indoor air quality pollutant, and it can make people feel sick if they breathe in a lot of it.
VOCs have a big effect on your indoor air quality, because they are quickly absorbed into our body through our eyes, nose, and throat, where they can quickly cause inflammation, itchiness, dryness, or other problems. Since we spend up to 90% of our time indoors, having good indoor air quality can have a big effect on our health.
Thankfully, there are ways of reducing indoor air quality pollutants in a new home or car – in the auto industry, manufacturers are aware of the dangers of VOCs and are actively aiming to reduce the use of hard chemicals that cause them. When it comes to the indoor air quality of your new home, it used to be difficult to avoid using building materials that included VOCs and other chemicals that could affect your indoor air quality – glue filled chipboard cabinets or toxic-smelling paints come to mind. Because of the increased awareness of indoor air quality and its role in your health, new products are available on the market that can help the savvy homeowner avoid the ‘new’ smell and the host of indoor air quality trouble that comes with it.
If you have concerns about the smell in a new house you’ve purchased, or in a home you’ve recently renovated, there’s still a lot you can do to help reduce and clear that smell from your indoor air quality – give us a call at SafeAir and we would be happy to help you find a solution to make your home a healthy and comfortable place to be.