Rethinking our material choices when it comes to everything from plastic bags to clothes, consumer products to our home building materials and furnishings should be a top priority for all of humanity.  There are increasing amounts of evidence about the level of harm plastic and chemical based products are causing to the planet.  Impacts include the destruction of natural ecosystems, contamination of water supplies, high chemical loads found in humans and animals, as well as future problems we are only beginning to understand.

There is a lot of discussion and a fair amount of action being taken surrounding energy efficiency and managing climate change by moving away from fossil fuels, and there is some traction by various consumer brands to switch to more environmentally friendly practices in both their material products and how they do business... But until legislation catches up with consumer demand and holds corporations accountable for producing only "healthy" products, there is a still a wide gap between where we are today and where we ought to be as a society.  We, the consumers are the ones who need to educate ourselves and our peers, and who can drive the change by choosing more eco-conscious brands until larger, macro-level policy change occurs.  


Here are some interesting facts to get you thinking about material choices:

  1. Microplastics are everywhere and aren't going away anytime soon.  They've been found in the lowest depths of our oceans and the highest peaks of our mountains.  They come in the form of microfibers (from clothes and textiles), microfragments (harder molded plastics), microfilms (flexible plastics including bags and packaging, even balloons), and microbeads (glitter, cosmetics, etc.).
  2. Plastics do not biodegrade.  Over time they continue to break down into smaller and smaller particles.  Some products may do this in several years, while others take hundreds of years, until eventually they end as microplastic components.  These microplastics could be anything from a visible polyester fiber, to a plastic piece the size of a grain of sand, or even a microscopic piece of film.
  3. The risk to humans, animals, and eco-systems is that these plastic particles can end up thousands of miles from where they originated and are ingested, breathed, or even chemically alter the environment and human anatomy.  This means that as plastics continue to be deposited on earth, the higher and higher levels of toxicity we will have to deal with.
  4. Plastics and chemical based products contribute significant amounts of contamination to water supplies, many of which cannot be filtered affectively by existing water treatment plants as indicated by the fact that microplastics are being found in filtered/bottled water, residential tap water, store bought table salt, and even beer!
  5. Chemicals, including ones found in microplastics and in synthetic resins used in many home products, as well as ones that leach from other chemically-heavy products are contributing to increased body burden.  A concept that our human bodies are adapted to handling natural levels of naturally occurring toxins, but not elevated levels of toxins - natural or man made.  Certain toxins are known cancer causers, while other's impacts are not fully understood.  Their detrimental effect may not be truly understood for years.  Studies have shown high exposure to these chemicals prove to be endocrine disrupting, have links to decreased mental aptitude in children, impact reproductive systems, and even can have metabolic system changes.
  6. It's estimated that 40% of all plastics produced annually are single use.  That also means 60% are manufactured into other consumable or commercial products.  Some of these plastics have lead to major technological, medical, or scientific advances in recent decades and in those cases, plastics are an important necessity to society.  But for other products, they were simply produced to be a cheaper alternative to existing consumer products - a function of our disposable society.  Unfortunately, before we were aware of the damages of plastics, they caught as mainstream; i.e. a decent product at a cheap price made without any ethical regard.  
  7. Many average household "wood" products that are made of things like laminates, plywood, fiberboard, oriented strand board, and particleboard are really just wood pulp mixed with plastic resins.  These "wood" products are not biodegradable due to their heavily chemical-laden content and are not be considered a safe or sustainable product.  They contribute heavily to poor Indoor Air Quality.
  8. Much of the plastic found in rivers, lakes, and oceans is single use plastic.  As significant steps are being taken to regulate single use products, the next area to focus on are other retail items.  Building materials waste is the next largest producer of physical waste next to single use plastics.  Much of the building material waste, including many common residential materials, are significant contributors to microplastic production and toxic leachate which can both pose significant environmental and health risks.
  9. As plastics and toxins accumulate, risk of ecological damage increases as well.  It's estimated that by 2050, the volume of plastic in oceans will be greater than the volume of marine life.  This poses a potentially huge environmental risk as marine life contributes to CO2 absorption.  If marine life is thrown out of balance or collapses, it further complicates/increases climate warming as a whole.
  10. Sick Building Syndrome is a sickness being studied more and more as connections to toxic home products and health concerns are made.  It may present itself with symptoms similar to asthma or as skin irritations, or with common theme at all leaving homeowners sick in various ways over time.  A recent World Health Organization study said that about 1 in 3 people living with new or renovated buildings had unusually high complaints related to health concerns and comfort related Indoor Air Quality caused by the buildings.  Material selection is the primary factory in achieving good Indoor Air Quality in homes, and unfortunately this indicates that existing codes and building standards are not meeting a large number of people's immediate healthy living needs.


If these facts resonate with you and make you want to consider your families immediate health and the longterm health of the planet, Go Green Home Supply can help you with your home's building material choices.


 Plan well.  Build well.  Be well.


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May 18, 2022 — David Lymburn