This is the first post in ‘An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen’ series. And to save you reading it all at once, I’ve broken up this one long post into handy bit-sized readings for each element needed to create your very own ‘Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen’. Whether you have respiratory issues, chemical sensitivities, mould illness, asthma or any medical condition that is impacted on via air-quality, then these posts are for you.
It’s also come to my awareness since being diagnosed with Inhalant Allergies to various natural and chemical substances, 13 years ago, that there are many parents who want to create a safe haven where little Jane or Jovan can have a calm, joyful place free of allergens and the worry that goes along with avoiding those allergens in everyday life; like at school, it’s the same as not having any peanuts in the house if someone in the family has an allergy.. The same goes for parents of newborns, they want to give their new treasured bundle the absolute best start in life.
Nowhere is your home more of a haven than when you are free to live an allergen, chemical-irritant free life.
An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen is about creating a worry-free hub where the family can come together to share meals in the most comfortable way possible: free of allergens and chemical irritants that inflame airways and play havoc with sufferers of inhalant allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory inflammation, Toxic Encephalopathy, Asthma, Occupational Asthma, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), Irritant-induced Asthma, Small Airways Disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS): all conditions where indoor air-quality is paramount to comfort and good health.
It’s just a matter of choosing the right products suitable for your own situation. The only way to do this and be sure you’re making the right choice is to investigate and research until you find the right product(s). Personally, I like to run ideas past my treating doctor, an Allergist and Immunologist; but mostly, I decide on whether the product or material impacts on my breathing by testing it–I’ll delve more into how I do this, and share ideas on how others do it in another post coming up.).
Dan and I haven’t yet decided on the materials we are going ot use. However, my good internet friend and author, Kathryn Treat, has a left a trail via her book, Allergic to Life: my battle for courage, survival and hope, and our interviews: in Part II of ‘New Beginnings—No Turning Back’, she describes her kitchen being made of completely sealed Formica, which in the US is chipboard/particleboard completely (or at least in her case) sealed on all sides with laminate. The doors in her kitchen are oak, and her window frames vinyl clad.
In the dearly departed author’s words: “This is no cookie-cutter illness; we are all different.”
I’ve already tested the oak doors, and decided that that’s what we are going to use.
A glue recommend by the Healthy House Institute in the US as it contains aliphatic resins, which dry hard and odourless:
(This is the glue I’m testing for use with some Oak Cabinetry doors! It has the aliphatic resin as recommended by The Healthy House Institute.)
This is a very fast setting adhesive of the titebond aliphatic resin range. It is Specifically formulated to provide short clamp time for oak and other ring-porous woods. It has excellent heat and solvent resistance and excellent durability for interior exposures. Excellent for Ash and Oak high volume production.
Sizes available: 19lt Pail & 208lt Drum
If we need to save money, which we probably do, we’ll be using glass doors with aluminium edging around them, which I will get to in two shakes of a lambs tale. Basically, our Butler’s pantry [read fruit and vegetable storage room] is going to be mostly glass doors. and shelving with mirror splashbacks so as to appear to give it more space.
Now, for the cabinets, so far we have two choices. Ecological Panels (made from recyclable non-toxic, sustainable & green building materials, or Neemaboard, hardened uPVC board, which is either also sold under the name Waterproof PVC Based Polymer Board from Cowdrey or it’s a different product. The gentleman at Cowdrey who gave me the MSDS said that Neemaboard is no longer called that. So I will just refer to it as Cowdrey PVC Board. It’s actually UPVC or the sample I have that says ‘Neemaboard” on the back (shown below) is different. There actually is a huge difference between PVC and UPVC. So I will sort this out when I do a post in this ‘An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen’ series of posts, just on the cabinet materials available (maybe 5 posts away?).
(Our thermally-broken, double-glazed windows and frames, already ordered and paid for with Zenit Windows are uPVC (Known as PVCU overseas in countries like Europe), ours have come from Europe, so hopefully, the REACH stricter safety standards will protect my health from VOCs; I still can’t find any reputable information on the amount of VOCs released per square metre anywhere–so far. Except from over at the ATA forum. And from a VOC point, it’s not looking pretty. But from an Ecological standard, they are excellent going by reviews and the recommendation of our Eco Draftsperson, Quin Wyatt.)
Both cabinet products have their advantages. But I will say straight up that Ecological Board stacks up really well in price and suitability compared to the same product that contains formaldehyde in the glues, which hold ordinary particle board together.
Both products can be completely sealed with a 2Pak paint, which hardens just like powder coat, I am told by our kitchen guy.
(I wrote about ‘How to Seal Chipboard in the Kitchen’ way back in 2007 for AESSRA (The Allergy, Environmental, Sensitivity and Support Research Association), who then published it in their magazine, Sensitivity Matters. I can tell you now, the kitchen in the Build an Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free House project will not be using foil for anything other than wrapping sandwiches! Well there is the Kingspan AirCell 3in1 Building wrap… but that’s the last time, I swear. If you have chemical sensitivities, please laugh along with me.)
Other elements that could make your kitchen allergy-free, keeping indoor air-quality at optimum levels:
- The kitchen doors
- The cabinets
- The bench tops (I have a special guest post coming up from The Allergista about this very topic in regards to transdermal skin allergies! and what can be found in your benchtops)
- Any coatings or paints used in the sealing or colouring of materials
- Removal of humid air, eliminating the risk of moisture build up, which could lead to mould growth
- The flooring
The next post is going to be on Ecological Board, the good, the great and the awesome. Stay tuned.
The Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free Kitchen Series
An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—Oak. Glass or uPVC or Composite Panels?
An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—By The Allergista: What are Your Countertops Hiding?
An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—Ecological Panels, and Building Biology Service, EcoLibria
An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—uPVC Board