Bridging the gap between health and homes

We pay a lot of attention to what we put on our skin or hair. When we shop for shampoo, we

check its ingredients. We make sure it has none of the many threatening chemicals we are

constantly warned against. We throw out anything that causes us rashes or hair-fall. We eat

particular foods because we believe they are good for our skin and hair. But very few of us stop

to take care of a bigger, equally important skin we spend most of our time in – our homes.

Nurturing our homes has become crucial since many of us spend every sleeping and almost

every waking hour indoors. Our homes are becoming increasingly disconnected from our

bodies. The knowledge of healthy home-building has become inaccessible. Since we do not

know what goes into creating our living spaces, we often leave the task up to architects,

specialists and carpenters. While their expertise is essential, we mustn’t be fooled into thinking

that these industries are always working to promote the health of its consumers. In a heavily

competitive world, the construction industry is always searching for cost-effective means of

production that can be mass produced. Our lifestyles as consumers have become drawn toward

homes that are luxurious rather than healthy. In the race for luxury, the valuable health of our

homes and in turn our bodies is compromised. Billboards on street corners advertise huge

buildings with fancy apartments. They talk of greater size, better locations and cheaper prices.

But you will rarely, if ever see an advertisement for a home that claims to provide a healthy

living space, free of toxins, built in harmony with the natural environment.

Like any industry, this too responds to the will of its consumers. As people begin to gain

awareness of the intimate relationship between their bodies and homes, they will begin to

demand healthier alternatives. There have been many documented cases of severe chronic

illnesses associated with harmful building materials, the use of pesticides and negligent living.¹

However, a majority of the population is exposed to low levels of pollution that will take years to

manifest as illness. When illnesses arise, their direct cause is difficult to trace and blame is

rarely placed on unhealthy living places. Many products used in homes are placed on the

market without adequate research being done into their health impact. Side-effects are often

deliberately hidden from the public. There is an urgent need for every homeowner to understand

what is at stake in living in an unhealthy home. Once this happens, residents can begin to

search for ways to create earth friendly homes that nourish the human body rather than weaken



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