When considering the air quality of your home, many of us do not realize the harmful chemicals and toxins we bring into our living spaces in the form of seemingly harmless products and items. Your kitchen table or the window cleaner you use, could actually be harming your health and the air quality of your home. Here are 5 major sources of indoor air pollution.
Pesticides. Pesticides that are synthetically created are full of toxic, harmful chemicals that end up infiltrating your home and contaminating your air inside. Even if you only use pesticides outdoors once, the results can be profound and negative. Choose natural pest solutions such as a nontoxic pesticide to effectively reduce pests while also keeping your home and family safe.
Formaldehyde is another source of air pollution that many people don’t even consider. This substance is found in many house hold items and materials such as the adhesives used in pressed wood products as well as materials used for your flooring. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas, but it can agitate your eyes, throat and overall body. It may lead to nausea or dizziness over time and is believed to be a carcinogen. Choose wisely when buying furniture or flooring, and be sure to ask if they were made with formaldehyde free adhesives ahead of time.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These are pollutants that are often found in the air we breathe. They can cause headaches in minor cases, and in extreme cases they have even been linked to cancer and permanent bodily damage due to extended exposure. Clearly VOCs are quite dangerous. Common sources of VOCs include things many homeowners use on a daily or regular basis including household cleaners, paint, and furniture varnishes. To reduce your exposure, be sure to choose natural and non-toxic products such as a DIY vinegar and baking soda cleaning mixture as well as no or low-VOC paints. This can help to ensure that the air you breathe at home is cleaner and safer.
Air fresheners. We often use air fresheners to help improve air quality by enhancing the scent and getting rid of disgusting odors. In fact, these products are actually doing the opposite. When you think you are clearing the air, in reality you are just masking the problem with heavy perfumes and potentially dangerous chemicals. A lot of companies who produce air fresheners make their products with phthalates which have been linked to reproductive issues as well as abnormalities. Use a non-toxic baking soda to absorb foul odors instead of chemical-filled sprays or even try using essential oils for a natural but effective way to improve the smell of your home.
Dry cleaning chemicals. When you bring your clothes to the dry cleaner, you expect them to come back fresh and clean. While they will indeed remove stains and smells, they are cleaned with a chemical called perchloroethylene which is toxic. It has been proven to cause cancer in experiments with lab rats, and can impact your health too! To reduce the impact on your home’s air, be sure to let dry cleaned clothes air out outside before bringing them in. or choose an eco-friendly dry cleaning service.
In addition to other home improvement tips like tips for saving on your gas heating bill each month, taking the time to assess the quality of your air is essential. These common indoor air pollutants can be harmful, so it is essential that you are mindful about your home choices to protect you and your family.