Ecology : Do
|The US Department of Health and Human Resources predicts that one in three Americans will develop some form of cancer in his or her lifetime. Human Genetics, a biology textbook by G. Edlin, suggests that one in five will not survive cancer and as much as 90 percent of all forms of cancer is attributable to specific environmental factors.
1984 World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). A 1987 EPA study concluded that indoor air in the home and at work far outweighs outdoor air as a route of exposure to toxic chemicals.
The EPA has found that poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can cause or exacerbate illnesses in children and adults, which in turn leads to absence from school and work. Recent data suggest that poor IAQ can reduce a person's ability to perform specific mental tasks requiring concentration, calculation, or memory.
Building materials emitting toxic chemicals at the highest rates were surface coatings such as adhesives, caulking, and paints; wall and floor coverings such as moulding, vinyl tile and carpeting; and miscellaneous other materials such as vinyl products like telephone wiring.
A well-designed daylit building is estimated to reduce lighting energy use by 50% - 80%.
Formaldehyde, a possible carcinogen, gradually accumulates in our tissue. Nearly half of formaldehyde’s annual production of 6.4 billion gallons (1990) is used for synthetic resins to hold pieces of wood together such as plywood and particleboard. The subsequent evaporation of formaldehyde vapors from construction materials and furniture makes this chemical a significant contributor to indoor air pollution.
The heating and cooling of houses in the US can generate twice as much carbon dioxide as that from the operation of automobiles.
The US comprises 4.5% of the global population yet drives 40% of the vehicles. Current vehicle emissions which use non-renewable resources contribute to airborne carcinogens.
Due to its economy and durability as an exterior sheathing material, 3.9 billion square feet of new vinyl siding is consumed per year in the US. However, 104 million pounds are annually discarded on the job site. This waste can be recycled, but usually is not. Also, this product, which contains polyvinyl chloride, is toxic to manufacture and deadly when burned due to the release of dioxins.
"[Dehydrochlorination thermal degradation] reaction occurs so readily, that it has been said that if poly(vinyl) chloride had not been discovered until the present time it would have been discarded after preliminary assessment as unsuitable for commercial development in competition with existing materials."
– (N. Grassie, G. Scott Polymer Degradation & Stabilization. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge 1985)
"Mold has become a huge legal and financial problem for homeowners and insurers, not to mention a significant health concern…The fungal growth, found in damp or wet conditions, has been blamed for a number of health problems, including breathing difficulties, headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal ailments, skin rashes, severe allergic reactions and neurological damage. Mold related expenses cost companies that underwrite homeowners’ insurance $1.3 billion in 2001, a number that is expected to grow in 2002."
– Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2002