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Should we be walking around our homes wearing blue decontamination suits? Not quite yet, but the health of our homes will be a challenge at the forefront of home technology in the coming years.
Nasty spores, mites and bacteria may fall victim to an explosion of new home products like self-sanitizing materials and air or water purifiers. People could be taking care of routine health monitoring from their homes instead of the doctor's office.
The carbon monoxide monitors and home security alarms we use today are considered the first generation in the wave of home health and security trends on the horizon.
"The market is here for these types of products in the health conscious Baby Boomer generation. People are concerned about maintaining their health and want to make sure they take every step in their own homes to do so," said Steve Millett, Thought Leader and Futurist for Battelle. "Technologists are working on these home products now and you'll see them become a reality by 2010."
A group of Battelle scientists and researchers have pinpointed the Top Ten Trends in Healthy Homes for 2010. They are, in order of importance:
Increasingly energy efficient homes have created interiors that are a virtual soup of odors and fumes from indoor pollutants. Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors and often the quality of air is worse than what we find outdoors. Homes and commercial buildings are sealed so well that despite circulation by heating and cooling systems, odors and particulates swirl around with nowhere to go-but your lungs. Respiratory problems including asthma and allergies are on the rise and can be attributed, in part, to mold and mildew spores; outgassing from synthetic fiber used in building materials and carpets; pet hair and dander; outdoor pollens that become trapped indoors; and inadequately vented cooking and food odors.
What's a gasping and wheezing homeowner to do? What you're likely to see on the market and in homes by 2010 are products for advanced air venting, air filtration and biosensors that help fight humidity, mold and other indoor pollutants.
Pure water has become important to most people-witness the $22 billion bottled water industry and the interest in faucet filters. Homeowners desire, and will demand, better tasting, better smelling and clearer water in their homes. Municipal water systems are generally safe, but deadly accidents do occur. When a water system is compromised by E coli or cryptosporidium, people can become seriously ill and die from the water coming into their own homes. In the future, homes will have whole-house water safety systems-new appliances not yet developed-to supply the best water for all home uses.