Detox Your Indoor AirBy John Kirchner
As we survive through “allergy season,” outdoor air issues may fill the headlines as we hear about allergens and the latest medication, but poor indoor air is just as dangerous.
According to the EPA, the air in our homes is often two to five times more poisonous than the air outside. Toxic indoor air has been linked to anything from chronic respiratory diseases to cancer.
Improving indoor air quality isn’t hard to do. Following are some easy, adaptable tips to improve your home’s air flow.
- Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate. Open windows and doors and run window or attic fans to circulate in fresh air. It dilutes your home of toxins and chemicals that may be trapped inside.
- Don’t use chemical air fresheners or toxic cleaning products. Anyone can attest to the pungent smell that comes from these cleaners. But while many of us think the fumes disappear after a while, the chemical residues are left behind. There are plenty of products on the market that are non-toxic, or you can use lemons, water and vinegar to freshen your indoor air.
- Purchase natural carpet or get rid of it all together. Carpeting can be one of the biggest air-quality culprits in your home: Most carpets are treated with chemicals that give off toxic gas. Carpet also traps dirt, allergens, mold and other nasty items. If possible, take out the carpet all together. If you need carpet, consider purchasing a natural fiber carpet or area rugs.
- Make your home smoke-free. This isn’t just good for your indoor air quality. Quitting smoking improves your overall health and that of your family.
- Bring in the green. Certain plants such as spider plants, peace lilies, mums and philodendron remove dangerous toxins from your indoor air.
- Remove vinyls from your home. Vinyls, such as a shower curtain or a vinyl window frame, actually release toxic gas into your home. It is the second most common plastic, so ridding your home of it may be difficult. It’s recommended to begin by removing the easiest (shower curtains, for example) and the largest (construction supplies such as windows) sources.
Resources: Charity Guide, BabyCenter.com, Healthy Child Healthy World, EPA, LowImpactLiving.com, Washington Toxics Coalition