How clean is the air inside your own home? As a country, we tend to focus on pollution from outside sources: smog, carbon emissions and industrial waste. From dust to toxic gases, indoor air quality can be a problem right in your own home. Here are some of the top sources of threats to having clean air inside your home and what you can do about it.
Toxins Affecting Indoor Air Quality
According to Medline Plus at the National Institute of Health, there are 5 major concerns that lead to indoor air quality. They are: Toxin #1: Mold and pollen. Toxin #2: Tobacco smoke. Toxin #3: Chemicals inside toxic house products. Toxin #4: Gases like radon and carbon monoxide. Toxin #5: Building materials from remodeling, such as formaldehyde or lead.
Solutions to Clear the Air in Your Own Home
The good news is that you can address each one of these issues in your home. Here are 10 tips for improving the indoor air quality of your home
- Open the windows. Even a few minutes a day can help those toxins get out of your home!
- Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum and/or air filters. “HEPA” is a filter standard that ensures your vacuum or air system filters out tiny and hard-to-remove particles from the air. HEPA filters can help keep your home clean of microscopic irritants. Also look for air filters that can remove bacteria, viruses, and allergens.
- Test your home for carbon monoxide (CO), radon and lead. CO is easily checked with a working CO detector or alarm, just like your smoke detector. Make sure to keep a charged battery inside. Radon can lead to lung cancer. While it is a bigger problem in some states like Pennsylvania, radon has been found all over the country. If radon has been found in your home, it can easily be removed in a short period of time. Lead obviously poses some serious health issues. Learn more about what you can you do to test for and prevent lead exposure in your home at Lead Safe America.
- Clean regularly with environmentally safe products. Many traditional cleaning products contain chemicals that have side effects ranging from irritants to outright carcinogens. Who wants those dangerous chemicals around in your home? Use eco-friendly, safe brands to clean like Dr. Bronner’s or Earth Friendly Products.
- Avoid chemical products to freshen or scent your home. The label “fragrance” usually means “full of nasty chemicals.” Try essential oils to freshen your air and keep opening those windows!
- Keep indoor houseplants. This easy trick is a great way to remove toxins like benzene and formaldehyde from your air. Here is a list of the top 15 best plants to clean indoor air.
- Don’t use pesticides for pest control. Most pesticides are based are full of chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other deadly or chronic illnesses. Many of them contribute to the decimation of our bee population as well. Use organic or DIY lawn care to keep your garden green!
- Use no- or low-VOC paint and take care when remodeling. VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, are a common chemical in house paint. According to the EPA, they can have negative effects on the central nervous system, liver, kidney and more, and may cause cancer.
- Buy furniture that does not off-gas. New furniture, such as couches and mattresses, often expel toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, phthalates, flame-retardants, water repellants, VOC’s and more. These toxins can take years to off-gas. It’s much safer to buy clean secondhand furniture or select an organic and/or allergy-free brand for mattresses, blankets and covers.
- Ban smoking from your home. If you make it inconvenient, your loved ones will smoke less!
Selecting Clean Products For Better Indoor Air Quality
Here are a few suggestions to help you choose better products to keep your air and home safe.
- If you are remodeling, check out Healthy Child Healthy World’s “Easy Steps to Healthy Home Improvement.”
- Naturepedic makes mattresses for adults, babies and kids that are organic. They also carry mattress toppers, bassinets and cradles, pillows, sheets, and, for adults, adjustable beds. Because babies sleep for most of their day, Naturepedic takes special care with their baby crib mattresses, using certified organic cotton and a PLA comfort layer, which is a new fiber made entirely from plants. They also use a food-grade polyethylene for waterproof models. They never use flame retardant chemicals but rather design a safe, nontoxic product that meets all the Federal and State flammability standards. They also have the GREENGUARD GOLD certification, ensuring all their products are safe and are a trusted partner of Healthy Child Healthy World.
- Earth Friendly Products carries a full line of Earth friendly cleaning products for your home, from bathroom to kitchen, to laundry and pet messes. Not only are they lean and green, they are committed to sustainability and are now certified Carbon Neutral and use 100% green energy to create their products. They are also cruelty-free. They also carry a special line at Baby ECOS for babies, including Stain & Odor Remover, Bottle & Dish Wash and Toy & Table Cleaner. They worked with the EPA to make their Baby ECOS Laundry Detergent Free & Clear certified.
- Dr. Bronner’s are the soap makers that use ethical sourcing, certified fair trade practices and organic sources for all products. They support GMO labeling too. They carry a full line of body care products, from high quality castile soaps to a liquid hand sanitizer that won’t harm your family. They also carry Sal Suds Liquid Cleaners, an all-purpose cleaner for everything from counters to dishes to laundry. Their mission? “Dedicating all our profits to helping make a better world.”
What do you do to keep the air quality in your home clean and clear of toxins? Naturepedic, Earth Friendly Products and Dr. Bronner’s are sponsors of ShiftCon.