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Eco Minute August 22, 2014

Jem Sullivan

When you get ready to spruce up your house, be careful what you use and how you dispose of it.  Painting is a great way to change the look of a room.   Be sure to use water-based or vegetable-based paints, stains, and varnishes. Don't wash paint thinners, household cleaners, oil, or pesticides down the drain or pour them on the ground; use them up, give leftovers to friends or a charity, or dispose of them responsibly as household hazardous waste at one of the area landfills or at the regional roundup or amnesty day. 

New furniture and carpets made from synthetic fibers can emit "volatile organic compounds" which can produce headaches, fatigue, nausea, and nasal congestion. Ask for your carpet to be aired out before it is delivered and installed, and keep windows open and use fans to ventilate the room.  Cotton and wool rugs and carpets generally do not produce VOCs. Use alternatives to standard adhesives which can also be a source of pollutants.    

Dr. Enid Sisskin received her PhD from Columbia University in Pathobiology. She has worked as an environmental activist in this area for more than 20 years. She is currently on the faculty of the School of Allied Health and Life Sciences at the University of West Florida. She is the creator of the Eco Minute and has produced & hosted the series 2005. Her interests include continuing to garden despite yearly failure and continues to work for environmental protection with her husband and children. She is also everyone's favorite Jewish mother and stage manager at RadioLive. Contact: enid@wuwf.org.