Tips: Addressing Indoor Environmental Concerns During Remodeling

A Stevenspublishing website offers a list of good work practices that you can
use to help minimize or prevent indoor air and other indoor environmental

Correct the underlying cause of any problem.

For example, if you are repairing a damaged paint surface, look to see what
might have caused the damage, e.g., moisture from the inside (such as
condensation), or from the outside (as with roof leaks), rubbing or impact of
painted surfaces, or structural damage.

Assume Paint in Homes Built may Contain Lead.

Unless a lead-based paint inspection shows otherwise, you should treat paint in
homes built before 1978 as if contains lead. Exposing anyone to lead dust,
especially children, is harmful.

Do Not Disturb Asbestos.

If a project requires disturbing areas that contain asbestos, use an asbestos
professional or contact your health department for advice before proceeding.

Avoid Exposure to Mold or Bacteria.

Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure include
allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. The key to mold
control is moisture control. It is important to dry damaged areas and items
within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Avoid Creating Dust (and Contain Dust That Can't Be Avoided).

Many remodeling activities, from demolition to removing wood casings, have the
potential to create dust. Use low-dust work practices (for example, mist
surfaces with water before sanding or scraping). Cover the area under work with
a durable protective sheeting (e.g., a plastic or poly tarp). Use barriers to
keep dust contained to immediate work area.

Provide Ventilation.

Exhaust ventilation (e.g., a fan blowing out) from the work area will help
remove dust and other pollutants and, by creating a pressure barrier, will help
keep pollutants from spreading to other parts.

Protect Occupants from Exposure to Odors and Pollutants.

Keep occupants away from the work area. Clean up the work site before they
return. (Workers should wear proper protection, keep clean, and avoid taking
dust home with them!) Use barriers (e.g., taped plastic sheeting over doors and
other openings) and local exhaust ventilation to prevent pollutants from
spreading through the home. When possible, allow materials containing volatile
organic compounds to off-gas outside before bringing them in. Likewise, when
possible, apply finishes such as paint and sealers to building materials
outside, and bring them in after they are dry.

Use Appropriate Storage and Disposal Practices for Paints, Solvents, Cleanup
Materials and Asbestos-Containing Materials.

Seal containers carefully after use. Keep paint containers in storage areas,
preferably equipped with exhaust ventilation, but not near heating,
ventilation, or air-conditioning equipment rooms. Use an appropriate waste
disposal method to dispose of any paints containing lead or mercury. Follow
appropriate regulations for disposal of asbestos-containing materials.

Follow Manufacturers' Instructions.

As a minimum, follow the manufacturers' recommendations regarding proper use,
ventilation requirements, and other health and safety guidelines for all
products and materials, including paints, sealants, adhesives and appliances.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) -- which are intended to provide both
workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or
working with a variety of substances -- are available from manufacturers. MSDSs
include information such as toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity,
storage, disposal, protective equipment and spill/leak procedures. These are of
particular use if a spill or other accident occurs. MSDSs are also a possible
starting point for evaluating a manufacturer's health and safety claims.

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: Stevenspublishing