Drywall construction in your home can affect Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in several ways.
- Dust and Particulate Matter: During the installation of drywall, dust and particulate matter are released into the air, which can cause respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. This is particularly concerning for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma.
- VOCs: Drywall is made up of gypsum, which is a mineral that is processed with synthetic additives. These additives can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which can lead to headaches, dizziness, and other health problems. The VOCs released during drywall installation can persist in the air for several days, and the duration can vary depending on the type of drywall used. Some VOCs have also been classified as carcinogenic or cancer-causing by organizations such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These VOCs include benzene, formaldehyde, and vinyl chloride.
- Moisture: Drywall can also contribute to moisture buildup, which can lead to mold growth. This can cause a range of health problems, including respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and skin irritation. In addition to the health concerns, mold growth can also damage your home's structure and decrease its value.
- To mitigate these issues, it is important to ensure proper ventilation during the installation of drywall and afterwards, to allow for the dissipation of dust, particulate matter, and VOCs. It is also recommended to use low-VOC drywall and to monitor the moisture levels in your home to prevent mold growth.
- It is important to note that the risk of developing cancer from exposure to VOCs is generally associated with long-term, high-level exposure. However, even short-term exposure to high levels of VOCs can cause a range of health problems and may exacerbate existing health conditions such as asthma or allergies. To minimize your exposure to VOCs, it is important to choose low-VOC products and to ensure proper ventilation in your home or workplace.