Most people acknowledge the potential dangers of our outdoor environmental pollutants but may be unaware that our indoor air quality is also compromised by many elements of of our lifestyle and indoor environment. We spend a large percentage our time inside, apparently 90%, so it is important to understand how to maintain healthy air in both our home and office.
SHIFT TO NON TOXIC HOME PRODUCTS
There is a plethora of evidence that indicate our every day products we use around the home emit toxic chemicals into our indoor air and therefore potentially impacting our heath. The good news is that there are now so many less toxic cleaners, air fresheners, candles, deodorants, inspect repellants etc available and easily accessible to everyone. You can find them on www.chemfreecom.com, just click on ‘search directory’. By making wise shopping choices you can significantly reduce your indoor pollution.
Typically, transitioning to a non-toxic household takes some time, so we’d like share a few things that will quickly impact the removal of some toxic pollutants at little or no cost.
BEST 3 NO/LOW COST WAYS TO QUICKLY IMPROVE YOUR INDOOR AIR QUALITY
As long as you do not have any sources of outdoor pollutants, such as industry or refuse near your home, one of the simplest things you can do is open a window or door. Natural ventilation helps remove or dilute indoor airborne pollutants coming from indoor sources.
Opening a window for 5 – 15 minutes a day can significantly decrease the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home.
Turn on your exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen when showing and cooking. High levels of moisture increase dampness and the growth of mold, which can lead to a string of health issues.
2. GROW FRESH AIR – PLANTS
We live in the real world where many aspects of the buildings that we live and work in also contribute to poor indoor air quality. Flooring, paint, woods, chipboard and insulation are some examples that off gas and emit VOC’s into the air. Lets face it, it’s often difficult and expensive to change or replace these items with less toxic items. Surprisingly there is an easy solution, plants. Houseplants are awesome indoor air cleaners, some of them are more effective than others at filtering out pollutants and toxic chemicals in the air.
NASA has been studying air-filtering plants for decades for use in the their space stations.
“NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.
While the original study only considered plants grown hydroponically (ie without soil), more recent research has shown that micro-organisms in the potting mix (soil) of a potted plant remove benzene from the air, and that some plant species also contribute to removing benzene”
WATCH How to grow fresh air
3. WIPING IS GOOD – LEAVING THEM AT THE DOOR IS BEST
Spend a day in the life of a pair of your shoes. Do you cross roads with pollutant emissions from petrol & diesel, drop the kids at school where the floors have been cleaned with toxic chemicals, wander across the park or garden that has been sprayed with pesticides. What toxic chemicals are hitching a ride on your shoes back to your home?
A 2009 study ‘Monitoring and Reducing Exposure of Infants to Pollutants in House Dust’ define the potential impact on our young,
“Babies come with great potential but great vulnerability. It is estimated that infants eat twice as much dust …, weigh one sixth as much, and are up to ten times more vulnerable than are adults to dust exposure … The developing neurological, immune, digestive, and other bodily systems of infants are easily affected at low doses and these systems are less able to metabolize, detoxify, and excrete pollutants …
Up to 11% of toddlers may exhibit pica behavior, eating nonfood items, and may consume up to 10 g of soil and dust per day. The time of life when exposure occurs may be as important as the dose…. Infants breathe more air, drink and eat more relative to their body weight, and engage in risky behaviors such as mouthing hands, toys, furniture, and other nonfood items. They crawl on floors, where they are in close proximity to carpets, and may breathe higher levels of dust….
Exposures early in life may trigger sensitization leading to development of chronic diseases such as asthma or predispose to cancer that takes decades to develop.”
“The health risks to babies from pollutants in house dust may be 100 times greater than for adults…. House dust is the main exposure source for infants to allergens, lead, and PBDEs, as well as a major source of exposure to pesticides, PAHs, Gram-negative bacteria, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, phthalates, phenols, and other EDCs, mutagens, and carcinogens”
Apparently, a ‘Door Mat Study‘ was conducted in 1991 which was focused on lead dust. I have been able to locate references to the study but not the actual study ( (“Reducing Lead Exposure from Remodeling and Soil Track-In in Older Homes,” by J.W. Roberts, D.E. Camann and T.M. Spittler, presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Air and Waste Management Association, June 1991.). So will leave it with you to consider the apparent findings..
- Using door mats cut toxic lead dust inside the home almost in half.
- Taking shoes off at the door cut the lead dust by 60%, better than door mats.
- Doing both actions — door mats and shoes off — over a five month period wiped away a stunning 98.5% of the toxic dust. Virtually eliminated all of it.
- Lead-contaminated soil from outside causes almost all the lead dust inside homes. And when the inside lead dust goes up, the lead goes up in children’s blood.
- Limiting the amount of dust and track- in may also help reduce exposure to lawn and garden pesticides, industrial toxins, mutagens, dust mites, and allergens.
If you have a hang up with bare feet, try the ‘House Shoe’ strategy. It’s been a part of the Japanese culture for centuries.
Need some help to identify or address your indoor air quality.
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