We use to think of air pollution as something outside: smog, ozone, or haze hanging in the air, especially in summer.
But the truth is, the air inside homes, offices, and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside.
The air inside your home,may be polluted by lead (in house dust), formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, even volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaners.
Some pollutants are tracked into the home. Some arrive via a new mattress or furniture, carpet cleaners, or a coat of paint on the walls.
In that mix, you’ll also find microscopic dust mites(major allergen),and mold as well.
Children, people with asthma, and the elderly may be especially sensitive to indoor pollutants, but other effects on health may appear years later, after repeated exposure.
Indoor allergens and irritants have become much more important in recent decades, because we are spending more time indoors. And, because modern homes are airtight, these irritants can’t easily escape.
We’re all exposed to a greater degree than we were three or four decades ago.
How To Improve Indoor Air Quality?
You should keep your floors clean.Chemicals and allergens can accumulate in household dust for decades. By using a vacuum with a HEPA filter,you can reduce concentrations of lead in your home.
Using a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters ensures that dust and dirt will not be blown back out. When you clean,don’t forget the walls,carpets and furniture as well.
You can also get rid of other toxins, like brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs) as well as allergens like pollen,pet dander and dust mites.
Mopping picks up the dust that by vacuuming is left behind.Just use water to capture dust or allergens.You can use microfiber mops.
When you enter your home with your shoes that have picked up any thinkable possible dirt during the day.It is best to rub them first on your door mat and then to enter and put them in a shoe closet.
Humidity In Home
Dust mites and mold love moisture. Keeping humidity around 30%-50% helps keep them and other allergens under control. A dehumidifier (and air conditioner during summer months), helps to reduce the moisture of indoor air and effectively controls allergens. An air conditioner also reduces indoor pollen count.
In order to dehumidify your home, you might :
- Use an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing.
- Not to over-water houseplants.
- Fix leaky plumbing to prevent moisture-loving mold
- Empty drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier
No Smoke Zone
Probably the single most important aspect of indoor air pollution is secondhand cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals.
Research shows that second hand smoke increases a child’s risk of developing ear and respiratory infections,asthma and cancer.
For the smoker,this can cause cancer,breathing problems,heart attacks and stroke.
Test Your Home For Radon
Whether you have a new or old home, you could have a radon problem. This colorless, odorless gas significantly raises the risk of lung cancer.
If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is high.
Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground and into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Drafty homes, airtight homes, homes with or without a basement-any home can potentially have a radon problem.
Granite counter-tops have also been linked to radon. While experts agree that most granite counter-tops emit some radon, the question is whether they do so at levels that can cause cancer.
Testing is easy, inexpensive, and takes only a few minutes. If you discover a radon problem, there are simple ways to reduce levels of the gas that are not too costly. Even high radon levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
You may associate that lemony or piney scent with a clean kitchen or clean clothes.But synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air.
You won’t find their names on the product labels. Conventional laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and air fresheners in solid, spray, and oil form may all emit such gasses.
In one study, a plug-in air freshener was found to emit 20 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven regulated as toxic or hazardous.
Most fragrances are derived from petroleum products, and generally haven’t been tested to see if they have any significant adverse health effects in humans when they are inhaled. Tests usually focus on whether a fragrance causes skin irritation.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals often used in fragrances and also used to soften plastics. Studies show that phthalates disrupt hormones in animals as well.
What To Do?
- Look for fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products
- Stop using aerosol sprays:deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, furniture polish, and air fresheners
- Switch to mild cleaners that don’t include artificial fragrance
- Use sliced lemons and baking soda to get a clean scent in the kitchen
- Bring nature indoors. Any room is prettier with a fern, spider plant, or aloe vera. It’s also healthier.
- Let in fresh air. Open windows so toxic chemicals don’t build up in your home. What if you or your child has pollen allergies? Then keep rooms ventilated with a filtered air- conditioning system.