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'Green' homes save money but can trap air pollution indoors
Date:2/21/2013

SAN ANTONIO, TX- February 21, 2013 -- In an effort to protect the environment and save on energy costs, we are in the midst of a "green" home boom in this country. While that may bode well from an energy-efficiency standpoint, the trend certainly doesn't have everyone breathing easier.

Nathan Rabinovitch, MD, an asthma specialist at National Jewish Health, will describe the potential health hazards "green" buildings pose to people with asthma, during a symposium, Monday, February 25, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology in San Antonio.

"For every solution, there's a problem," said Nathan Rabinovitch, MD, an asthma specialist at National Jewish Health in Denver. "Energy efficiency is really, really important, but at the same time, with the homes that we are building today, allergens getting into the house, are staying in the house."

That includes things like smoke, mold, bacteria and pet dander. For the nearly 26 million Americans who suffer from asthma, that's causing a wide range of problems.

"It used to be when homes were built, a lot of air would come out through the roof and through the windows," said Dr. Rabinovitch, "but now we've become so efficient at sealing off those areas that everything is getting trapped inside the house, and that's making a lot of people sick."

Rabinovitch says the movement to build more energy-efficient homes began in the 1970s, after the nation's first energy crisis. Since then, concerns about the environment and a downturn in the economy have all converged to make energy efficiency much more of a priority in the housing industry.

But something else happened during that same timeframe: asthma rates started going up. In fact, since 1970, the number of Americans who have asthma has nearly tripled.

That's not a coincidence, says Dr. Rabinovitch. "The problem is, a lot of the air pollution in our home is actually in the carp
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Contact: Adam Dormuth
dormutha@njhealth.org
303-398-1082
MediaSource
Source:Eurekalert

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