A little history…
As parents, we never know what type of journey lies ahead. It is our job to keep our children safe and do our best to address each crisis as it comes along. Our journey began when our first daughter was three months old and taken to the Emergency Room for the first time. Little did we know that this would be the first of many visits, all related to what much later would be diagnosed as asthma. Fast forward three years and we were back in the Emergency Room with our second daughter, receiving exactly the same diagnosis for her.
As the granddaughter of a physician, I had a sneaky suspicion that my children should not be permanently on antibiotics and steroids. My girls went from one course of medicine to the next and spent hours on the nebulizer. For several years we cancelled vacations, missed days of preschool and never left home without our meds and equipment. We spent more time in doctors’ offices than I would care to remember. If only they had a frequent patient award program . . .
While my second daughter was an infant, I was still working in the hotel business. We were in the process of launching a “green” hotel chain, LEED-certified properties that were environmentally friendly. As I learned more about these hotels, I realized that one of the main components of a “green” building is superior indoor air quality. This began my quest to explore whether or not indoor air quality has any link to asthma.
I have since earned an MBA in Sustainability at Green Mountain College and a LEED accreditation. The subject of my thesis was the health and financial benefits of “green” building. I continue to research this subject and stay up to date with new technologies and innovations that emerge in the green building industry. Most importantly, I have made my own home as “green” as possible. All of my research led me to crucial information about the link between children’s health issues and environmental toxins and chemicals. So naturally I began tearing apart the nursery!
My “greening” began in my children’s rooms. We used no VOC paints, got rid of our rugs, installed HEPA air purifiers, eliminated the stuffed animals (except for the occasional lovey), purchased mattress and pillow covers that are allergen free , and switched to organic bedding. On to the bathroom…out went all products that contain the word “fragrance”. The more I learn about phthalates and Bisphenol – A (BPA), less and less products enter my home. Then went my shower curtain liner (replaced with organic hemp model) and bath mat.
After we got to the kitchen and all cleaning supplies were tossed and replaced with healthier variations and plastic cups and plates were removed, we decided to do a serious remodel! Bamboo floors and Sustainable wooden cabinets were installed, windows were replaced with high efficiency triple panes, sealants, adhesives, paints were only used if they were VOC free , high efficiency insulation was installed. We actually purchased sustainable furniture for our living room! I was determined to eliminate as much off gassing as possible in the house. However, I still make sure that we have the proper ventilation, just in case!
Our transition to a “green” home might seem excessive…and it was! Yes, I do feel like a bit of a tree hugger but I have embraced that new side of myself. However, I can safely say (and my fingers are crossed while I write this) that my older daughter who is now 10, has not used a nebulizer (or any form of steroid medication) since January 2010. Our soon to be three year old, has never been treated for an illness, and thank goodness has been spared the inside of an Emergency Room!
Our journey has been long and arduous. Receiving a diagnosis of any kind of childhood illness or disorder can be so overwhelming. Since I did not know where to turn, I began the research myself. Combining the knowledge I had about “green” building with the information I received from children’s environmental resources, My Little Green Room was launched. If I can help your family in way, please feel free to contact me using the form below.