Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tips to keep your indoor air healthy

Indoor air quality can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air.
This time of year, indoor air pollution is likely the last thing on your mind (and may be it never crosses your mind). We have learned to be concerned about outdoor air quality without realising that it has an indoor counterpart. Since we spend about 90% of our time indoors, we’d do well to learn a bit more about it, especially during winter. With the windows shut tight and the furnace roaring, there is a greater chance that indoor air pollution can become an issue.

The air quality in your home can be two to five times worse than it is outdoors thanks to the many sources of indoor air pollution. And it isn’t just your furnace or woodstove that you need to worry about. Lack of effective ventilation, household cleaning products and personal care products, new furniture and carpets, all contribute to unhealthy conditions in your home that can cause headaches, nausea, allergies and breathing issues.
To keep your home`s air as healthy as possible, deal with the biggest sources of pollution first: carbon monoxide, cigarette smoke and radon. Ensure your furnace, wood stove and other combustion units in the home are well maintained and cleaned at least once a year. Dirty chimneys, leaky woodstoves and poorly vented gas stoves can release carbon monoxide and other chemical into your home.
Radon, a radioactive gas emitted from some rock and soil, is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Contact the New Brunswick Lung Association to purchase a radon test kit so you`ll know if radon is an issue in your home.
Dealing with any humidity issues is another important way to keep your indoor air clean. Mould releases biological contaminants that you don’t want to deal with so ensure that your home is well ventilated (especially the bathrooms and kitchen stove) and that moisture leaks are repaired.
Products in your home that list “fragrance” as an ingredient pollute the air. That includes cleaning products, especially laundry products and room fresheners. These heavily scented products are loaded with phalates, known hormone disruptors that can cause significant health issues. The same goes for scented personal care products and artificially scented candles. Always choose unscented household and personal care products, or those scented with essential oils.
New furniture and carpets, dry-cleaned clothing, paints and varnishes all off-gas chemicals, so it’s important that you do all you can to minimize off-gassing in your home. Hang dry cleaning on the line when you first get it home, leave new furniture in the garage until the “new” smell fades. Often new kitchen cupboards and particleboard furniture off-gas formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) so look for manufacturers that use formaldehyde-free adhesives. Always choose zero VOC or low VOC paints (available in many brands).
Dust and vacuum frequently. Also, air purifiers can, ironically, be a source of indoor pollution so do your research if you`re thinking of getting one.
It`s not all bad though, house plants can do their part to keep your indoor air clean.


alcan peter said...

I must say this is great ideas to keep our the indoor air healthy. Healthy air is important because it can affect out health. Unhealthy air could harm our health.
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Darryl Iorio said...

Making a healthy environment for your family to live in is your responsibility. So keep them healthy by making sure that the air they breathe inside the home is clean. In addition to preventive measures, there are many natural ways to improve the air quality in your home. Air cleaning devices need sufficient support to improve indoor air quality, and that’s the reason why you have to bring nature indoors. Plants are a great addition, not only as living air purifiers, but also as decorative pieces to enliven your home.

-Darryl Iorio

Bridget Oland said...

I agree, plants can do double duty... purify the air and add a bit of beauty.