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Avoid risking children's health during home energy retrofits, renovations, experts urge
Date:3/6/2011

Home energy retrofits tackle climate change and when done right they should make homes healthier, while aiding families struggling with utility bills.

Without adequate training and precaution, however, renovators, energy retrofitters and do-it-yourselfers who disturb lead-based paint, asbestos insulation and other toxic materials in older buildings put the health of all -- especially children -- living there at risk of serious health impacts.

Lead exposure can potentially lead to lowered intelligence and worse; asbestos exposure can potentially lead to debilitating long term illness, and certain materials used in renovation can increase other health risks, experts warn in a new report by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA).

CELA and fellow members of the Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment (CPCHE) have launched a multi-year project to promote healthier home energy retrofits. They strongly encourage retrofits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and home energy costs but urge government co-operation to ensure such work is done without damaging the vulnerable health of children.

"Many families in Canada struggle with high energy costs and retrofits help ease the financial burden while aiding the fight against climate change," says CELA Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan. "Retrofits, done right, will also make these families' homes healthier and prevent health problems known to result from mould or inadequate heating and ventilation. Unless care is taken to avoid the release of toxic chemicals and ensure proper ventilation, however, such renovations can create serious health risks, especially for children."

Adds Erica Phipps, CPCHE Partnership Director: "The goal here is a 'win-win' situation: homes that are more energy and cost efficient and healthier for children and their families."

The report, "Healthy Retrofits: The Case for Better Integration of Children's Enviro
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Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Source:Eurekalert  

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