Paints, flooring, soft furnishings and furniture
Toxicity: Many of the materials used in modern houses emit toxic gases, both during their production and throughout their life. The gases come from chemicals used as, for example, emulsifiers, fire retardants and dyes. They can lead to allergies, sensitivities and general ill health.
Energy use: Heavily manufactured products also have a high embodied energy (the energy used in their production) and require yet more energy when it comes to disposal.
Natural materials: If you are prepared to do a bit of hunting, you will find that there are many natural alternatives now available, from mattresses made of natural fibres to hemp carpets with recycled car tyre rubber underlay. For more information on how to shop for healthier interiors and how to avoid being hoodwinked can be found in the Shopping section.
If you require new furniture or furnishings it is worth remembering that you may be able to source them from second hand shops or sites like ebay, or the freecycle networks. There are now also many top designers, companies and other organisations that produce new furniture from re-used materials.