I will discuss in this post some of the issues you will want to consider when looking at land to buy for your healthy house-building project. Likely you cannot avoid everything because, unless money is no object, ultimately you will be buying the safest piece of land you can afford. We purchased a piece of land that had no existing well (and prayed the well digger found water), no electricity, and no phone service. Because of this, our land was much cheaper than all the other pieces of similar land and acreage that we looked at. Our land is in northern New Mexico at high altitude and in the desert. I have since read that “Locations that may generate high-ion winds such as deserts and areas below mountains and tall buildings may not be well tolerated.” (from 130 Safer Construction Tips, a link to this is at the end of the post) Certain times of year, we have very high desert winds day after day, unrelentingly! We have horrible wildfires some summers that burn for weeks—the smoke is sometimes so thick you can’t see the sun. At the same time, there is no industry in this area so the air is, most of the time, very fresh and clean. Our town is sparsely populated and our neighbors are far enough away that if laundry detergent and dryer sheet fragrances jet out of their dryer vents, we won’t even know. (did I mention the high winds?) Please share below if you have a recommendation of areas of the country (or world) that you think would be helpful for people to explore.
Trigger warning: you may find this list grim and dispiriting:
1. Beware fracking wells anywhere near the land you are buying. Fracking is a well drilling technique where water and chemicals are pumped deep underground to extract natural gas and oil. Communities living near fracking wells often complain of nauseating smells and contaminated water.
2. Beware Pesticide Spray Drift—farms, golf courses, parks and even your neighbors are all potential sources.
3. Beware EMF’s from cell phone towers, high voltage power lines, and power plants.
4. Beware Wind Turbines–A study of the health problems experienced by people living near wind turbines listed the following symptoms: headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and palpitations.
5. “Ask about your neighbors’ lifestyles. Do they: smoke; use pesticides, herbicides, insecticides; use fabric softeners; remodel cars; use combustion-fueled lawn equipment like leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and chain saws; barbecue or cook outdoors frequently; own a chlorine swimming pool; have pets?” -from 130 Safer Construction Tips, a very helpful overview of healthy house-building that you can find here:
6. Look at a map to get a clearer picture of what you may be downwind of—any towns with industrial plants or manufacturing?
7. Is the land in a flood plain or prone to flooding? There is a portion of our land that is in a 100 year flood plain. It floods every summer during the monsoon season. Beware alleged 100 year flood plains—weather is more extreme now. Before choosing where on your land to build your house, see where water accumulates during heavy rains and where runoff travels.
What have I left out? If you have a warning for others, please leave it in comments or email me and I will add it to this post.
PRI’s Here’s Where To Find The Cleanest Air In The World
Safe Place: TARRAGONA (CATALONIA, SPAIN)
Town in Spain Adopts A Plan To Keep People With MCS Safe
The Most and Least Toxic Places in America from Forbes.com