How to Rid Your Home of Toxic Air Pollutants
It’s crazy to think about, but according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) our indoor environment is two to five times more toxic than our outdoor environment. That makes the air toxicity in your home greater than outside your home.
If you’re surprised by that, you’re not alone. In fact it has been said that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. And it’s because of this that there are more studies being done to examine the effects of indoor pollutants and their contribution to things like autism, asthma and cancer.
Toxic air pollutants are poisonous substances in the air that come from natural and manmade sources. They are believed to cause – or at least contribute to – the following:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Skin rashes
- Birth defects
- Chronic cough
- Throat irritation
- Kidney and liver damage
- Nervous system damage
As a mother of a son who had (yes, had) asthma, I can tell you that it’s the ultimate “AHA” moment when you realize that you can reverse an illness. Especially when it comes to your child.
And have you ever heard of something called “sick building syndrome”? It’s when a home or office can cause things like headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye, ear and nose irritations.
Common causes of indoor air toxicity are:
- Tobacco smoke
- Household cleaning products
- Gas (such as radon, carbon monoxide from building materials, like asbestos, formaldehyde and lead)
So it should be easy to simply get rid of these things, right?
Ideally, yes. Here are some ways to either rid your home of indoor air pollutants or alternatives to them:
Stop Using Chemical Air Fresheners
Did you know that the chemical air freshener industry is self-regulated and the products do not undergo any safety testing? Insane, right!? The National Resources Defense Council has found high levels of phthalates in many products and they were not listed in the ingredients and some of these air fresheners were actually labeled “all-natural” or “unscented”.
And if you think your scented candles are safer, think again. They are actually considered just as dangerous as second hand smoke. Many candles are made with paraffin wax and paraffin fumes have been found to cause tumors in the kidneys and liver of lab animals. Use beeswax candles instead; they not only smell nice, but they purify the air as they burn.
Purchase Some House Plants
Certain house plants can also purify the air and filter our common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Try an aloe plant, spider plant, garden mum, ficus, peace lily, or a Boston fern.
Install and Use Exhaust Fans
To prevent mold, it’s important to keep moisture out of your home’s air. Exhaust fans are perfect in your bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room for eliminating moisture.
Find a Green Dry Cleaner
Perchloroethylene (or “perc”) is the chemical used in traditional dry cleaning and it has been found in laboratory studies to cause cancer in animals. Today it has become easier to find an organic, or green dry cleaner that does not use perc. Better yet, hand wash your clothes at home.
Purchase Air Filters for Your HVAC System or Portable Air Cleaners
Air filters move air through your home while trapping dust, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and some mold. To choose the most effective home air filter for your HVAC system check the rating of the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). You can also purchase a portable air cleaner that can be used in a single room.
Some of these are simple enough for anyone to do and the reward for doing so is huge. One more bonus tip – open your home’s windows. Let some fresh air in and the toxins out.
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