Over the past few years, government agencies such as the EPA and the CPSC have warned that the air inside homes and buildings can be more severely polluted than the air outside. This, coupled with the fact that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, can have a harmful effect on human health, with polluted air linked to a host of potentially serious health conditions. Improving indoor air quality should be a priority for home dwellers – an aim that can be achieved by increasing one’s awareness of the greatest risks to respiratory health within the average home.
What Health Conditions Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Cause?
Some of the most common problems polluted air in the home can cause or contribute to include headaches, fatigue, hypersensitivity and allergies, dizziness, shortness of breath, sinus congestion, infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung disease. As reported by Lung.org, indoor air pollutants are riskier for those who already have lung disease. Simply by understanding the risks, however, the chances of developing respiratory conditions can be reduced.
What Are The Main Causes Of Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Sources of pollution are varied. They can include dust mites on fabrics and foam cushions, microbes (including fungi, mold and bacteria), ozone (e.g. from photocopiers if you have a home office), tobacco, perfume, dust, gases like formaldehyde (contained in pressed wood furniture and other building materials), and gases (from furniture, carpets, and paint). Harsh cleaning products (such as ammonia and bleach) can also harm one’s respiratory health.
Tackling Indoor Air Quality Naturally
In order to reduce toxin levels in your home, aim to clean and purify your indoor environment naturally. For instance, bamboo-sourced charcoal air purifying bags, made from roots and stems that are exposed to ultra high temperatures, are able to trap and ionize negative airborne particles, mold spores, odors, and pet dander. This is because bamboo can have thousands of tiny holes that absorb these and other allergens and toxins. Other choices include HEPA filters, which are able to trap particles as tiny as 0.3 microns in size. Ventilation is also important: consider investing in a balanced, green vent system for your home, and open windows and doors as often as you can (provided the air quality outside is optimal).
Gentler Cleaning Methods
To clean your home, you should also consider the use of a powerful steam vacuum in lieu of chemical-laden cleaning products. There are also many organic cleaners such as Thieves, made from a clove oil compound. Essential oils can have powerful antimicrobial properties, while being innocuous to human health. If you have any health conditions, check with your doctor first to ensure the oils you are using are safe. If you have pets, meanwhile, run your essential oil selection by your vet first, since some oils can be harmful to them (for instance, tea tree, peppermint, and pine oils are bad for dogs, and these and additional oils are also harmful to cats).
Creating a better indoor environment should be a greater priority for all home dwellers, considering the amount of time spent indoors. This goal can be achieved by removing irritants (such as carpets, pressed wood furniture, and other items), improving ventilation, and adopting more natural cleaning methods. The use of purifiers and filters can also help to purify an indoor space and reduce the likelihood of respiratory conditions developing.