My Green Cottage

Posted by Trish Riley, May 30, 2010

My knees hurt.

I’m creating an environmentally healthy and efficient home out of my cute little 34-year-old cottage.

I realized I needed to do this because my sweet little dog, Teddi, has exhibited some health concerns over the three years that we’ve lived here. I love my little house, but i don’t want to sacrifice her health to live here. So I’ve embarked on a massive project to figure out what kind of contaminants lurk in our midst and what I need to do to get rid of them.

Our pets are the canaries in the land mines that are our homes. Because they are so small, they and our infant children are the first to be affected by poor indoor air quality – and our modern homes are literally a toxic soup of contaminants that we breathe into our bodies daily. When my little dog began to exhibit health problems, I realized that I needed to figure out how to create a healthier home for her.

Last year Teddi developed a half dozen small tumors on her chest. Three vets and lots of tests told me that the tumors were probably the result of too much estrogen in her nine-year-old body, and I was admonished for not have spayed her earlier in life. Surgery cost $700 for the hysterectomy and tumor removal, but the vet said that the tumors did not turn out to be mammary tumors caused by estrogen as they’d suspected, which surprised him. The good news was that they were benign.

Ever since then I have worried that the floors in our home might have contributed to the tumors – they’re fake-wood laminate floors that are made with pressed wood and formaldehyde-containing adhesives. Such floors are reported to continue off-gassing formaldehyde into the home for ten years or so. Many other home materials have formaldehyde in them too…

So tonight I’ve been crawling around the floor scouring tiles and mopping them. But I’m jumping ahead of myself. I had no idea what I was getting into….  Read more:

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