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What do you think of when someone says “air pollution”? Probably car emissions and smog. We often think of our homes as a shelter from these harmful toxins, but are they truly safe? Most of them are not, because of the indoor pollution which can be much worse than the outdoor. This type of pollution is more densely concentrated in the air, which makes it more dangerous. Plus, people spend much more time in their homes than they do outdoors, so they are more exposed to it. Some of the primary causes of indoor pollution are formaldehyde, asbestos, radon, tobacco smoke, mold, and cleaning chemicals. If you are ready to do something about it and eliminate these toxins from the air, here are some tips that will help you succeed.
In many paints and coatings, there are solvents called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Their purpose is to bind all the ingredients together, help the paint stick to the wall, and make the coating durable. However, some VOCs react with oxides of nitrogen in the air and cause pollution. Fortunately, there are many eco-friendly options for your home when it comes to paints and finishes which contain little to no VOCs at all.
One of the most common indoor pollutants, formaldehyde, is often found in manufactured wood products, permanent press fabrics, and household products, such as pesticides, glues, and paints. When buying furniture, choosing and installing flooring, or choosing household textiles (e.g., upholstery and drapes), opt for the ones produced without formaldehyde glues, foam, and added formaldehyde.
Mold thrives in humid and damp environments. It is usually found in bathrooms, but also at the origin point of a leak, and in extremely humid rooms. While it seems harmless compared to other pollutants, mold can cause serious respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Get rid of it by scrubbing it off, and then addressing its very source – humidity. Ventilate the room in question often, and keep the walls dry.
Dust mites can lead to respiratory issues, especially in asthmatics. These tiny pollutants love to live in carpeting and other textiles. Since you can’t throw out all of the upholstered furniture, the least you can do is get rid of wall-to-wall carpets and opt for area rugs, made of natural materials, such as wool and jute. Keeping the house well-ventilated will also help.
Asbestos sounds so ominous that it is difficult to imagine it was once considered a perfectly normal construction material, primarily because of its low price and great insulation properties. It was very widespread, so much so that professional asbestos removal is still in demand in many major home renovations. This is a job that needs to be done by properly equipped professionals, because even a tiny particle of asbestos, when inhaled, can cause severe health problems.
We all know that smoking is bad for health, but do you know that smoke doesn’t leave your house after you’ve opened the windows? It remains stuck on the walls and fabrics and contributes to the total household’s pollution. If you, a member of your family, or your guests are smokers, the best solution (after quitting) is having a dedicated outdoor area where smoking is allowed.
There is no point of eliminating the big toxins if you are polluting your home on a day-to-day basis with secondary chemicals. Most of the conventional household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals in the form of parabens, triclosan, and phthalates. You will get a clear image on the no-no cleaners by reading the label on the back. If it says “warning, irritant, danger, hazardous” or anything similar – ditch it. Opt for organic cleaning products, or make your cleaners by using the ingredients from your kitchens, such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice.
It is impossible to remove all the source of pollution from your home, but you can do whatever is in your power to make the indoor air safer for breathing. A natural and healthy way to do this is to enrich your home with houseplants which have the ability to purify the air. Indoor plants come with many other benefits, including improving attention and concentration, lowering stress levels, positively affecting the mood, etc.
Finally, there is an option of purchasing air purifiers with HEPA filters, which can reduce mold spores, dust mites, pollen, tobacco smoke, bacteria, viruses, and animal hair and dander. The best room to introduce such a unit into is your bedroom because that is the room where you spend most of your time. Air purifiers are particularly useful for persons suffering from asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions.
With so many dangers lurking outside, it is only normal to expect your home to be a safe place. But it can’t become that without your help. These tips will help you detox your living space and live a happier and healthier life.