As a certified Building Biology Practitioner, momsAWARE founder Andrea Fabry is often asked, "What is Building Biology?" The answer is simple, but often ignored when designing our homes, offices, and schools.
Building Biology is the study of the impact of the indoor environment on our health. Building Biology comes from the German term Bau-Biologie (bau meaning building and the living environment, bios meaning all forms of life, and logos implying a sense of order).
There is no question that buildings have an impact on those who occupy them. The average person spends 90 percent of their time indoors. This is in stark contrast to most of human history, when mankind spent significant time outdoors. The World Health Organization meanwhile continues to sound the alarm when it comes to the rise of chronic diseases (see this WHO fact sheet).
Chances are you've heard the term "endocrine disruptors." According to recent research, these substances are costing us billions of dollars per year in health care expenses (see the National Geographic article Chemical Exposure Linked to Billions in Health Care Costs). Generally present in small but pervasive quantities, these chemicals defy the conventional "the dose makes the poison" premise and are clearly wreaking havoc with our bodies.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been implicated in the following:
- Attention deficit disorder and other neurological effects
- Male and female reproductive disorders
Ventilation is one of the biggest factors when considering the health of a living environment. Unfortunately, ventilation takes a back seat when winter hits. Instinctively we close the windows and turn up the heat.
Indoor air specialist Richard Walter says allowing in a bit of outdoor air may offer an important health boost during the winter months.
Walter, head of A+ Engineering Construction in Nevada, says building construction has changed in recent years, which means buildings are tighter than ever.
We live in a ziploc plastic bag and it's terrible for our health.
The solution, according to Walter, is access to outdoor air.
You need clean air for your lungs. You don't get clean air inside your house.
Radon is a naturally occurring environmental toxin. It's the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and therefore worthy of our consideration. The good news is that this toxin is relatively easy to identify and mitigate.
- What is radon?
Radon is a colorless, chemically unreactive inert gas. You cannot smell, see, or taste radon. It is the heaviest known gas, nine times denser than air, and occurs as part of the normal radioactive decay process. It enters our living spaces via the ground, groundwater, or building materials. Holes or cracks in the foundation may be a clue that radon is an issue.