Some indoor air pollutants, like secondhand smoke, have gotten a lot of public attention. But according to the American Lung Association, there are a great many other indoor air pollutants.
These indoor air pollutants can include:
- biological pollutants, such as molds, pollen, animal dander, viruses and bacteria
- combustion pollutants from stoves, furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces
- formaldehyde, commonly found in adhesives and bonding agents
- household chemicals
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists indoor air pollution as the fourth largest environmental threat to the nation. Prevalence of pediatric asthma and allergies has increased dramatically.
So what can be done? Here are 10 tips that can help improve indoor air quality, support body detox and improve the health of your family:
- Change the filter in your furnace and air conditioner at least every 3 months and use a quality, high-efficiency filter.
- Vacuum carpets regularly. When remodeling or building, consider other flooring. Carpets can harbor dust, dander and other allergens. Even the chemical fibers used in some carpets can be a concern.
- Choose your candles wisely. Aromatherapy is increasing in popularity, but before you start filling your home with candles, keep in mind that conventional candles will actually contribute to air pollution in your home, not help the situation. Always select only clean-burning organic soy aromatherapy candles, which provide the benefits of aromatherapy while not contributing to indoor air pollution.
- Don't allow smoking in your home. The hazards of second-hand smoke are well-documented.
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Certain chemicals may really be tough on stains, dirt and grime, but they can also be damaging to your lungs. Do some research into natural and organic products that are just as effective.
- Use a Himalayan salt crystal lamp to clear the air of electronic smog and other indoor air pollutants.
- Replace particle board and pressed wood furniture with higher-quality pieces. Adhesives used in these more economical furniture styles often contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
- Use organic essential oils in a burner/warmer in place of harmful air freshener solids and sprays.
- Keep your space clean and dry. Leaky faucets or HVAC systems can cause water to puddle, leading to mold and mildew, which are major contributing factors to indoor air pollution. Likewise, keeping your home tidy will avoid molds and mildews, as well as dust, danger and other impurities from affecting your indoor air.
- Bring in fresh outdoor air. When weather permits, open windows and doors, and operate window air conditioners and fans, to bring some fresher outdoor air into your home. Modern homes are often sealed tightly, so there is less opportunity for bringing fresh air indoors.
There are many things you can do to improve your indoor air quality. The 10 steps above will get you started.