If you’re having work done on your home, you should stick to one room at a time to avoid the health risks created by some building materials, experts say.
Many building materials such as paint, varnish, flooring materials and wallpaper paste can emit fumes that are potentially harmful to health, experts warn.
Known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), these fumes are released into the air while paint, varnish, glue and the like are still drying and hardening, says the German Environment Agency (UBA). This can take days or even weeks and is sometimes accompanied by a pungent odour.
To help minimise exposure, experts say thorough ventilation is important when using products that emit VOCs.
That means renovations should preferably be done at a time when it is easier to ventilate, namely outside of the winter heating season. (In Malaysia, this should be done with doors and windows open.) The UBA also advises renovating one room at a time, which limits emissions of VOCs.
VOCs can irritate the skin and the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and eyes, as well as causing headaches, impaired concentration and dizziness. – dpa