Home is where we live, eat, play, sleep, and raise our family. Unfortunately, our homes are often not designed or constructed with our health in mind.
On average, studies are finding that indoor air pollution is between 5-10X worse than outdoor air, and we spend between 87–93% of our time indoors, with the vast majority of that time spent in our homes.1 Those homes were supposed to be safe havens: places to raise our developing children, recover from injury, and protect our family from extreme weather.
Unfortunately, the way we design, build and maintain homes does not assure health and safety for its occupants. In fact the history of the building industry is littered with many decisions that were toxic to our health. In the 1970s, the carcinogenic chemical formaldehyde emerged as a public health concern. Soon after, it was acknowledged that a popular building material called urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), was causing a range of health problems. In 2015, laminate flooring imported from China was found to contain dangerous levels of formaldehyde. A similar situation in 2009 involving imported drywall that emitted hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S), which was contributing to homeowners’ respiratory problems.
The reality of the 21st century is that there are many opportunities to select healthy materials, build better than building codes, and properly manage our indoor environments — but they are not being used in building new homes. This is likely an outcome of trying to avoid extra costs, or just a lack of education. Recently, regulators mandated tighter building envelopes — such as the new STEP code in our home province of British Columbia. This reduces the air exchange between the indoors and outdoors to optimize energy efficiency, but decreases fresh air inside of the home. As a result, the majority of new and existing homes in North America have insufficient ventilation and filtration.2 This causes severe symptoms including exacerbation of asthma, allergies and chronic illness, stagnant air and sick building syndrome, bacterial and mold growth, and physical symptoms such as constant headaches, fatigue, itchy eyes and sore throat.3 These small investments would seem prudent if our loved ones will spend decades in these homes, especially when small preventative costs can avoid much larger healthcare costs later.
If you are concerned about your family’s health at home, you are not alone. A Harvard study of over 2400 people found that 30% of all families expressed concerns about some aspect of their home negatively impacting or posing a risk to their health. Indoor air quality ranked as the leading source of concern.4 The percentage of aware and concerned citizens is growing rapidly. Climate change and global warming are causing extreme weather events such as forest fires and flooding that results in dangerous levels of smoke and mold in our homes, and this will only get worse, some are calling it “the new normal.” We remain optimistic that our homes can become a refuge and a place of safety.
TZOA aims to become the leading healthy home brand with the most effective solutions on the market based on empirical evidence and data.
In the last 5 years, the amount of activity in the health and wellness space has increased significantly; the path ahead is inevitable, we are even starting to see more healthy home products, chemical-free & green products, and indoor air quality solutions. Yet no established company exists to challenge the century-old status quo, or to break down barriers and course-correct industries. TZOA exists to become that company. We aim to develop solutions that can be retrofitted into existing homes, and to maximize the health potential of every home.
Most importantly, we are committed to ensuring our solutions are accessible and affordable to everyone. We measure ourselves based on positive impact to families, which is why we are foremost focused on air quality detection and healthy home diagnostics. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. We’ve already achieved improvements upwards of 90% for indoor air quality in many homes and we know that we can do so much better. We hope that you will let us serve your family. Please join us on the journey towards healthier homes.
1 The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants
2 Government of Canada, Health Canada: Ventilation and the indoor environment
3 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Indoor Air Facts No. 4, Sick Building Syndrome
4 Homeowner Environmental Health: Harvard Study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies