I trap my middle finger in the spot light fitting that I am man handling down from the ceiling, scream out in pain and instantly burst into tears. It’s the umpteenth time I have hurt myself in the last month doing DIY. We are on a deadline to get our house up together so we can rent it out and it’s all hands on deck.
I have cut, bruised, trapped, broken, knocked, blistered and landed on so many different parts of my body I’m starting to get the feeling I am not cut out for this kind of work. I stop loosening the ceiling spot lights and hold my throbbing finger. My partner likes a ‘bright’ room and has fitted 105 light fittings in this house. I have only loosened 12 of them. Dear God…
I can feel a proper mood coming on. It’s a similar mood to the one I had last week, where I couldn’t work the rotavator in the garden, kicked it and made my toe bleed. It was there and then I decided DIY is very bad for health.
It is estimated by ROSPA that each year, more than 200,000 people go to A&E in the UK after being injured during DIY, maintenance or gardening at home. I can honestly believe that. DIY is lethal.
But it’s not just human accidents or angry outbursts at inanimate objects that makes DIY bad for us.
From a natural health point of view it’s the ‘volatile organic compounds’ (VOCs) that we need to watch out for. VOCs are toxic chemicals in paints and varnishes that are released into the air as we apply them. These nasty chemicals have been reported to be carcinogenic.
HealthyStuff.org researchers found an excess of other toxic carcinogens such as lead, phthalates, cadmium, organotins and other harmful and toxic ingredients in vinyl flooring and wallpaper.
So if you are trying to go eco, protect your health and the health of your family, here are my six top tips to happier, healthier DIY
- If using products with VOC’s make sure you have plenty of ventilation during application and/or stripping
- VOCs can leak from even closed containers so don’t store products with VOCs for long periods of time. Buy only the amounts you need and discard any half-used products
- Try using a natural alternative such as Naturepaint or Ecos Organic Paints
- The larger brands are also getting involved by offering healthier alternatives such as Crown who now do a 99% solvent free paint
- Look for alternatives to vinyl flooring such as natural wood flooring or stone
- If you’re doing a lot of DIY up your antioxidants which will help scavenge for free radical build up in the body. Its also a good idea to do a heavy metal detox afterwards (no I don’t mean take a break from Metallica) Antioxidant Arsenal or Healthy Starter Pack are good choices.
- Don’t kick machinery that is heavier than you, you will only come off worse
Now I better get back to the light fittings… wish me luck.
Do you have any eco friendly DIY products you can recommend?