Every so often, we may clean our homes, be it weekly, monthly or seasonally. When we are done we breathe in the fresh clean smell that let us know every surface in our homes is germ free. After all, the products responsible for these smells laud the benefits of all their anti-bacterial and anti-germ powers. With all this cleaning and focus on healthy living, indoor air quality is often overlooked. It is only logical to assume that if your home is clean then the air inside is clean as well. This however, is a very unhealthy assumption. As it turns out, the air inside your recently disinfected home may be more polluted than the air outside.
Poor indoor air quality, a global health crisis
By conservative estimates, approximately 2.2 million people die annually around the world as a result of poor indoor air quality. The sources of these pollutants would vary depending on a lot of factors. In developing countries, where fuel is burnt indoors for the purposes of heating and cooking, the source of the contamination is obvious. These populations account for 1.6 million of the above mentioned total.
In developed countries, the source of the pollution comes from a group of chemicals called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOCs are carbon containing compounds that are released by almost everything you can imagine – carpets, furniture, paint, perfume, plastic, and even paper. The new car smell that we have learned to appreciate is just the smell of VOCs being released into the interior of the car.
Natural air pollutants
The problem with VOCs and the indoors is they tend to be in higher concentrations since there is no wind to blow them away. Mother Nature also creates indoor pollutants as well.
Naturally occurring pollutants are pet dander, dust mites, bed bugs, mould, mildew and airborne bacteria. They may be responsible for the triggering of allergies and in severe cases, “Sick building syndrome”.
How to fix the problem?
– Air purifiers are a good solution, some can even remove chemicals from the air and improve overall indoor air quality. If you choose to go down this road, remember to do some research, read reviews from people who have already purchased the model in which you are interested. In trying to fix the problem of air quality, don’t create another with solid waste, try a purifier that has a reusable filter.
– Ventilation is one of the simplest ways you may fix this problem. If your room is on the leeward side of your home it may not be that easy. A simple solution is to place a box fan in the window. You can either have it draw the stale air out or fresh air in. A small extractor fan might be a solution for small rooms like your bathroom.
– Plants are a favourite. They are beautiful, and just having one in a room has been proven to lower stress levels. Certain plants possess unique qualities and if you are going down this route, consider you could place specific plants in specific rooms:
- Gerbera Daisy – place in the laundry room, it removes Benzene and Formaldehyde. Toxins found in laundry detergents.
- Golden Pothos – put in your garage, it removes ozone. A respiratory irritant found in car exhaust.
- Aloe Vera – keep in your bedroom, as it releases oxygen at night, essential for improving sleep quality and getting a good night’s rest.
- Janet Craig – good for the bathroom, it reduces the carcinogen TCE, which is released into the air when you shower with TCE contaminated water.
- Peace Lily – leave in the hallways as they reduce all sorts of toxins. The list includes Benzene, Ammonia, Acetone and Ethyl. If placed in hallways, it keeps toxins from spreading from room to room.
The three solutions listed above can also be done in combination with each other for best results. Try them out and leave a comment below, if you noticed a difference after trying any of these.
July 2017 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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