Toxic building materials are found in most constructions, especially older ones. That is why older buildings are being retrofitted or in some cases rebuilt in order to render them non harmful to people. In recent months we have heard about the gas leak in Porter Ranch CA, the lead polluted water in Flint MI and the formaldehyde found in excess in flooring and their impact on people’s health and the environment.
What are considered to be toxic building materials ?
The most commonly found hazardous building materials are:
- Asbestos and lead; known carcinogen that are released as they age and deteriorate. While asbestos mostly affects lungs and severe respiratory problems, lead affects the brain and nervous system.
- Vermiculite is a mineral compound but can be contaminated with asbestos which renders vermiculite dangerous.
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and PVC byproducts contain known carcinogens that are released as they age and release dioxin when burned.
- VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) such as formaldehyde is a respiratory irritant and carcinogen provoking symptoms similar to allergy (burning and watery eyes and throat).
- SVOC (Semi-Volatile Organic Compound) such as HFR (Halogenated Flame Retardant), releases toxic fumes and gases during a fire.
They are found mainly in paint, varnish, flooring, insulations, windows, plumbing materials, roofing and siding, just to name a few.
What are the alternatives to toxic building materials ?
Certains of these toxic building materials are so widely used that they are not easily replaceable unless you do not mind the cost incurred. But it’s possible and well worth it. Here is a non-exhaustive list of alternatives:
- Vinyl wire sheath replaced by metal.
- Vinyl pipes by copper and steel.
- PVC window frames by wood, aluminium or fiberglass.
- Vinyl flooring by hardwood.
- Non-Halogenated flame retardant can efficiently replace the halogenated ones.
- Foam insulation replaces fiberglass insulation, as well as recycled cotton.
If your home contains toxic building materials, it is recommended to replace them. Many of us have the tendency to consider ourselves (with good reason most of the time) as DIYers, which is fine with small remodeling projects. But for a project that implies removal of toxic building materials, we would suggest hiring professionals to do it safely. They have the knowledge, the equipment and experience to do so.
As a full-service construction and remodeling company in San Diego, Collom Construction possesses the resources necessary for a successful project. They deliver products of quality craftsmanship and work with you to meet your needs and respect your budget.
Give them a call today to set up an appointment for a free quote.