Adhesives are everywhere. Cabinets and counters, sub-floors and carpets. Paints and stains. Bath tubs, moldings, baseboards…
Each of these elements requires adhesive or caulk for installation. In fact, few other building materials are so common as adhesives. Yet most of the adhesives used in a conventional home are highly toxic. At Clarum we call that a problem.
Many adhesives use volatile emulsifiers to give them a liquid texture during application. After drying, these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) slowly evaporate at room temperature – bringing indoor VOC levels up to 10 times higher than they are outdoors, says the EPA.
The immediate symptoms include “eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment.” With really concentrated or long-term exposure, VOCs can lead to more serious conditions, including loss of coordination, nausea, liver and kidney damage, even cancer.
Bottom line: when building a home, insist on low- or no-VOC adhesives.
At Clarum, we check the GreenGuard standards for indoor air quality on each element we install. Then we find the lowest-VOC product available. For example, one of our favorite products is Owens Corning EnergyComplete, an insulative sealant we use to eliminate drafts around wall joints and windows. This product is so safe, it can be applied without a face mask.
Toxic materials make a daily impact on your health, to say nothing of the long-term toll they take on the environment. At Clarum, our high standards extend deeper than the details on the surface. We prioritize, too, details you won’t ever see: the invisible things, which make a visible difference in how you feel each day, and in the health of the planet we share.
To learn more about your home building solutions, call Clarum at 650.322.7069.
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