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Houses Being Built With Your Health in Mind

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DURHAM — If you have got allergies or asthma, you know how miserable that wheezing and sneezing can be. Believe it or not, your house may be making you sick.

The carpets, the cabinets, the paint -- even the soil under your house could be releasing toxic chemicals.

A Triangle company is now building houses with your health in mind.This is not your typical house; it is a

"Health House."

From measuring to taping, a group of contractors are making sure a new house in Treyburn is sealed tight.

"We don't want your relative humidity to get high. You don't want to grow mold in your house, you don't want to grow dust mites in your house and so forth," says contractor Michelle Myers of M-Squared Builders.

Myers is building the only Health House approved by the

American Lung Association

in North Carolina.

From the roof to the windows to the foundation, the goal is to eliminate chemicals and add as much fresh air as possible.

One of the first things to building a Health House, is picking the perfect site. The Treyburn homeis being built on a ridge. The location gives the house more air flow and it is easier to direct any drainage away from the foundation.

"We tape all the seams and this tape gets stronger with time," says Myers.

The tape helps keep out unwanted moisture, eliminating molds and mildews. A unique ventilation system brings in fresh air and gets rid of stale air.

The floors are hardwood or linoleum, because carpets can sometimes release toxic chemicals.

"It holds dirt, pesticides, whatever you bring in on your shoes, Then, if someone spills a drink, all of the sudden, you're growing things in your carpet," says Myers.

In the end, Myers hopes to build a house where a family not only feels at home, but also feels healthy.

The house should be completed in September and will be on the Parade of Homes tour. The list price is $889,000.

Myers also builds healthy homes on a smaller scale.

There are companies that build healthy homes, but to be approved by the American Lung Association, the builder has to adhere to stringent guidelines including a series oftests by a third party.

The house is usually monitored for a yearafter completion to see how it holds up and how the residents feel.