Hear from Bill Hayward: Make Healthy Home Choices – Boston Globe

Read what Hayward Score Founder and CEO Bill Hayward had to say in the Boston Globe in this excerpt from:   Some building materials introduce dangerous chemicals into our homes. Here’s a primer on making better choices. (December 15, 2019)

When it comes to your health, some of the most important building materials in the home are range hoods, bathroom exhaust fans, and home ventilation systems, said Bill Hayward, founder of the Hayward Score, which helps builders and consumers assess and improve the air quality and environmental health of their homes.

Hayward, the chief executive of California-based Hayward Lumber, became interested in home health after he and his wife purchased a newer house in 2008 and grew sick soon after moving in — sneezing, coughing, and feeling exhausted. “I at one point thought I had a brain injury, and I needed to sell the company,” he said, and their 6-month-old stopped growing. It turned out that mold in the home’s crawl space was permeating the indoor air, making all of them ill.

That nightmare experience prompted Hayward to study building health. He and a team set about designing a scoring system that could accurately assess a home’s potential for health issues based on certain conditions and the behaviors of its occupants — which, he hoped, could nudge builders to create healthier homes and consumers to make simple changes. They’ve since scored about 60,000 homes, tracking 23 self-reported medical symptoms.

“People can do a whole lot just by changing their habits,” Hayward said, whether it’s taking their shoes off when entering the home or running the range hood when they’re cooking. Preparing a large meal can release enough particulates to temporarily make your kitchen’s air quality worse than that of Delhi — one of the most polluted cities on Earth. But one study by Berkeley Lab found that a range hood, if switched on, can exhaust 50 percent to 70 percent of cooking particulates from a stove’s back burner.

Indoor air flow is an often overlooked facet of home health, Hayward said. When we heat our homes, the warm air rises, creating an air current. “It’s literally pushing to escape out the upper half of the house, and it’s sucking in like a vacuum through the lower extremities of the house,” Hayward said — especially through our basements and garages, damp places that may host unseen mold growth, but also our fuel oil, pesticides, paint cans, and other harmful chemicals.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the air inside our homes is 2 to 5 times more contaminated than the outdoors — and we spend 90 percent of our time inside. The solution, Hayward said, is to ventilate the home in an intentional way. For example, a heat recovery ventilator will suck humid air out of the bathrooms and kitchen, filter it, and then return fresh air to bedrooms and living spaces. A cheaper, low-tech solution is to simply crack one window at the bottom of the house and another at the top — “just enough so you feel it on the back of your hand but it’s not a draft,” Hayward said. “Better it’s coming in through the edge of the window as opposed to through the wall or the dark undercarriage of the house,” where prolonged moisture may be creating a biology experiment.

Meanwhile, the environmental health risks of carpeting don’t end with chemical stain repellents and formaldehyde foam underlayment. Carpet can offer refuge to dust mites, mold spores, and other particulates as time goes on. “We see symptom counts increase 60 to 75 percent when your carpet gets up over 15 to 16 years of age,” Hayward said.

Grosser still . . . “When you remove old carpet, it often weighs close to 200 percent of its original weight,” he added.

That’s one roommate you’ll be glad to see go.

Full article:  https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/real-estate/2019/12/15/some-building-materials-introduce-dangerous-chemicals-into-our-homes-here-primer-making-better-choices/f6XyXLMx8YxuWPtTvP82AK/story.html

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Dana Sundblad
Dana is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with over 20 years experience helping companies achieve awareness and financial goals in consumer, technology, and non-profit industries. Most recently she was Director of Communications at Castilleja School and began her career in brand marketing with Clorox. She received her MBA from Harvard University and BA from Wellesley College.
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