There are many health risks that people face as they go about their day. However, a growing amount of scholarly research has pointed to the ever-increasing amounts of pollution inside of office spaces, buildings, and homes. Some of this research has suggested pollution levels could be even higher than outdoor air in large and industrialized cities.
Indoor air pollutants inside the home can vary widely, from simple dust mites to highly toxic chemicals in wall paint and in furniture. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies indoor pollutants into three different categories
Combustion Pollutants: These are gases or particles that come from poorly ventilated products like space heaters, water heaters, or fireplaces. These type of pollutants can be very dangerous, as gases like carbon monoxide or nitrogen dioxide are odorless and colorless.
Volatile Organic Compounds: Often found in cleaning products or building materials, these usually take the form of gases. Some examples of VOCs include formaldehyde and acetone.
**Allergy Triggers: Mold, dust mites, pollen, dander or secondhand smoke is often found in every home. These can contribute to allergies or asthma, and can sometimes be hard to get rid of if the proper steps are not taken. **
All of these pollutants can lead to serious and long-lasting medical conditions. From getting eye irritation and headaches to cancers and respiratory diseases, it is important to take the proper steps to safeguard your home by improving the air quality. Some simple and easy steps to do so can be seen below.
Mold and mildew thrive in damp, wet environments. If your home has a lot of moisture, it can quickly become a breeding ground for various pollutants like mites. Buying a quality dehumidifier and ensuring your air conditioner filters are clean are great steps to take in order to regulate the amount of moisture.
Try to open windows whenever possible, or set up window and attic fans to circulate air. Consider purchasing a fan for the bathroom or kitchen that has an outdoor exhaust system. It is vitally important to take these steps whenever you are working on projects like painting, cooking, sanding, welding, or soldering. These activities, especially if they incorporate the burning of gas, generate a high level of dangerous pollutants and only degrade air quality.
Purchase an Air Purifier
One of the best ways to ensure your home has quality air is through the use of an air purifier. These often come in all shapes and sizes. When considering a purchase, keep in mind that the efficiency can vary widely. The best purifiers will have a clean air delivery rate of more than 350, or 10 as the minimum efficiency reporting value, according to Consumer Reports. Some air cleaners, especially if they are a small table-top version, might not be able to remove pollutants that are particularly strong. They might have to be used alongside other methods to improve air quality.
Use Less Toxic Products
Many products found in stores contain harsh chemicals that can drastically degrade air quality in the home. Instead of buying ammonia and bleach, turn to a vinegar and water solution, which emits far fewer pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency says even closed paint cans or adhesive removers can still give off gaseous volatile organic compounds, so make sure to buy these type of products in small quantities only.
Test & Examine Your Home
Many older homes have been constructed with dangerous materials like asbestos. Asbestos is a toxic and dangerous substance that can have serious health effects if not properly treated. Some carpets and vinyl can also emit harmful chemicals into the air, so it is important to choose materials like stone, tile, or bamboo whenever possible. Since you spend so much time in your home, it is vitally important to make sure the immediate environment around you is not contributing to poor air quality in your home.
Decorate with Plants
Studies have pointed to the power of plants for improving home air quality. NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of American found how certain plants placed just 50 feet from each other in the home can help scrub the environment of harmful pollutants and improve air quality. According to the study, one of the best plants includes Bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, Gerbera daisy, and Janet Craig, Dracaena.
**Vacuum Often **
Vacuums swiftly suck up airborne particles, dust, and other pollutants on floors and other surfaces. Vacuuming on a regular basis is an easy and simple way to improve home air quality. If you are looking to purchase a vacuum, make sure it is sturdy enough for regular use, and that the accompanying replacement filters are cheap and easy to buy. For the best cleaning potential, a full-sized vacuum is a good choice. A robotic vacuum which operates on its own can also be an option if you are very busy. If you have any pets, you should vacuum at least once a week. Make sure to also clean any upholstered furniture, walls and the edges of carpets. Along with the vacuum, a microfiber dust mop is a good tool to use in the spots around the house that are too hard to reach.
Safeguard Your Bed
Your bedroom can be one of the largest sources of pollution and other irritants. Since you spend so much time in your bed, you are up close and personal with any dirt, debris, and chemicals from your sheets, mattress, and other accessories. You can instantly improve your home air quality by purchasing bedroom products like eco-foam mattresses and non-toxic sheets. The use of dust-mite proof pillows and box springs is also a good step in order to improve air quality. This helps cut down on potential pollutants. Above all, make sure to wash everything in the bedroom on a regular basis to keep things clean and keep your exposure to pollutants low.