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For The Home

Recycled Countertop

Author: Roberta Landman
Issue: May, 2012, Page 46


Not only is this bi-level kitchen island easy on the eyes, its ECO by Cosentino surface is designed to be easy on the environment.

The counters are composed of 75-percent post-consumer and post-industrial recycled raw materials, including salvaged mirrors; tossed-away glass items or bits of glass discarded in the making of auto windshields; scraps of stone; bits of porcelain; leftover ceramic used in the manufacture of sinks; and more. These ingredients are cast in a resin that is partially made of corn oil.

The result, according to the manufacturer, is a durable non-porous surface that does not require sealing, and that also can be used as wall-cladding and flooring in bathrooms as well as kitchens. The product is available through Cosentino Center, Phoenix, (480) 763-9400.

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Q Chemical products and mold can make the air in our homes up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and this can cause a range of health problems, notes the EPA. The kitchen, a setting we want to be hygienic, is not exempt from this dilemma. How can we keep its air safe to breathe?

A We asked Stacey Mortenson, executive director of the American Lung Association in Arizona. Not smoking and not inadvertently bringing pollutants into the home are ways to curb airborne pollution, she says.

Air fresheners and cleaning products we use to keep kitchens sanitary may contain harmful volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, explains Mortenson. Their fragrances can trigger asthma, “and many cleaning products use chemicals like ammonia and bleach that are even more toxic.”

It is best to eliminate an odor’s cause rather than cover it up with an air freshener, she says. A musty odor, for example, can mean moisture-caused mold is present. So, look for any plumbing leaks and have them fixed. As for cleanliness, “We suggest you start with a simple cleaning agent, like your dishwashing liquid, baking soda or vinegar and water.” If you need something stronger, “be sure to keep windows open, and consider using a fan to exhaust the air.”

The fan should be vented to carry air outside, “and not just pass it through a small filter like so many do,” adds the expert. “Exhaust fans are great because they pull air out of the house.”

New products such as flooring or cabinets made with particleboard, which may contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen, also can foul indoor air. Before installing, Mortenson advises leaving them outside for a few days so that noxious fumes can “off-gas.” For more information, visit
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