Monday, July 12, 2010

A Good Home is a Healthy Home

Healthy home decorating can be a challenge. With most big box stores carrying the same inexpensive products from the same suppliers—what's a health conscious shopper to do?  How do you find fabrics and window treatments that don’t outgas harmful chemicals? And let’s say you do find some home-spun cotton—how do you know it’s from suppliers that treat workers and the earth with respect?

Black out fabrics may keep out the sun--making it easier to sleep late and lower your air conditioning costs.  But fabrics are frequently treated with flame retardants, sizing, and stain guards. These toxic additives are—at best—irritants to your respiratory system and at worst—disruptive your endocrine system or even carcinogenic. The chemicals get absorbed through the skin or released into the air when activated by heat from the sun shining in your windows. Who wants to breathe that? No wonder the EPA reports 90% of indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air.

One way to make healthy home decorating easier is to use The Ethical Shopping Guide which accredits and publishes a list of companies with responsible sourcing processes. The Natural Curtain Company, for example, uses 100% natural fabrics wherever possible--often inherently more attractive and ethically superior to synthetic alternatives.

“Ethical” means careful examination of how the company conducts business. Accreditation by the publisher, the Ethical Company Organisation requires responsible practices in four areas.

Environment: environmental reporting; pollution; nuclear power; other environmental issues.
Animals: animal testing; factory farming; other animal rights.
People: oppressive regimes; worker’s rights; irresponsible marketing; armaments.
Extras: genetic engineering; boycott call; political activity; alerts.

Check out over 100 fabrics and get free fabric samples at The Natural Curtain Company -- not only a resource for blinds, curtains, and window treatments -- their blog has tips on creating a green home and how to make your own curtains along with ideas for saving energy and improving air quality. Video instructions, "Made To Measure Made Simple" shows how to measure windows.

It’s no longer just people with allergies and chemical sensitivities that are concerned about using natural fibers and furnishings. A good home is a healthy home—for all of us.

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