New research suggests that renovation planning should involve more than just picking the right colors and styles; doing it right may help prevent childhood respiratory conditions. Researchers from St. Louis University, in Missouri, linked home renovations with increased wheezing, asthma and chronic coughing among children living in the home. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, followed 31,049 children between the ages of 2 and 14 years old from seven Chinese cities over a two-year period.
Previous research has also reached a similar conclusion, identifying some specific materials responsible for increased childhood respiratory disorders. A Russian study of 5,951 children ages 8 to 12 found that increased asthma and wheezing were related to recently completed painting, as well as the installation of new linoleum flooring, synthetic carpets, particleboard and wall coverings.
That study, published in the same journal states, “Exposure levels are the highest during and shortly after painting, but low levels of exposure may remain for several months. Wooden furniture, as well as painted or varnished and new furniture, is likely to emit chemical substances.”
A 2002 study of New York children published in the Journal of Urban Health found similar results.