All the major air pollutants (car fumes, sidewalk smokers) are outside, right? Unfortunately this is not so much the case. Some of the grimiest air can be lurking in the walls of our own office or home.
Studies show that things like candles, printers, and even shoes can fill your space with harmful pollutants, says Ted Myatt, Sc.D., an environmental scientist in Boston. However there’s no need to escape to some remote island – simply arm yourself with knowledge and follow these easy steps to lighten the air in your home or workspace.
Candles are often linked to wellness and tranquility; however they can be detrimental to your health. Today most candles are made from paraffin wax, according to researchers at South Carolina State University, paraffin candles emit chemicals that are linked to liver damage, neurological problems, and leukemia.
How to prevent or reduce it: Buy 100 percent soy candles.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the problems that can cause air pollution issues in a home comes from the outside elements. Radon is a gaseous substance that is released from rocks and soil as it breaks down. Usually, this gas is released into an open, outdoor area where it is not a direct harm to people. However, in a home, this gaseous substance can be very toxic.
The EPA warns that as radon gas seeps into a home, it can become trapped and become toxic as it is inhaled. It is a cause of lung cancer and is extremely harmful, even fatal, to those with lung issues.
How to prevent or reduce it: Radon can show up in homes that are not well ventilated. Most of the radon inside a home, usually gets in through the floor, you can reduce the level of radon indoors by increasing the ventilation space under the floor. It is advisable that homes be tested yearly in order to ensure that they are radon free and that they remain that way. For more detailed information about Radon and how to treat it, read the facts sheet over at the Arpansa Website Mold Mold is essential in the outdoors, it helps organic matter decompose. However when mold makes its way indoors it can wreak havoc with your health, it can induce itchy eyes, red rashes and breathing problems. There are also a few strains of mold that can weaken your immune system. How to prevent or reduce it: To deter mold keep the indoor humidity at around 30 to 50 percent, go to your local hardware store and buy a hygrometer to check your room levels. Spores grow in dark, damp corners, so keep your rooms well ventilated and once a week mop around your fridge, sinks, and toilets with a mild detergent. Printers Believe it or not printers are one of the greatest pollutants. Every time you print a page, micro particles of ink and toner spray out, which can irritate the lungs and cause breathing problems. According to a recent Australian study, about one-third of printers are “high emitters,” This means that the airbourne particles churned out from printers can cause just as much harm as the thick fumes on a busy city street. How to prevent or reduce it: Set up your printer in a well-ventilated area, and when it is printing lengthy jobs make an effort to stand at least 10 feet away from it. Since colour ink produces more noxious debris, try and print in black and white when possible. Also choose vegetable based printing inks, they are not only better for the planet; they cause less harm to your health. Shoe Debris Your sneakers and stilettos come face to face with all kinds of nasties that lurk on the sidewalk. Lawns and pavements are littered with pollutants like lead dust, fertilisers and paint specs etc. According to the Environmental Protection Agency 80 percent of our exposure to pesticides happens indoors, all because they get tracked in by our shoes. How to prevent or reduce it: Never wear shoes indoors, keep a box at your front door to put all shoes in. Stoves and Heaters Stoves and heaters can be very problematic in a home. Fire and burning in a home releases a wealth of gases that can be fatal if inhaled. Not only do fires cause smoke, which can be detrimental to the lungs and the brain, they also release several chemicals as well. Aerosols are often released which can be fatal if inhaled in large amounts as well as cause damage and tears to the linings of the lungs. Because of studies showing the damage that can be caused, many modern cooking companies are now developing safer cooking mechanisms in order to minimise risk. However, no matter how modern the technologies, it is better to be safe than sorry. How to prevent or reduce it: Whether for entertainment or for cooking, there needs to be a strong ventilation system either built in to the device or through the opening of a window in order to ensure air keeps moving and does not remain stagnate. Household Products In today’s modern world, there seems to be a cleaning product for every surface. From the kitchen stove to the bathroom, these advancements in cleaning have helped to clean dangerous bacteria and stop disease from spreading as rapidly as it once did. There is, however, a downside. These products utilise chemicals which can be extremely dangerous if inhaled consistently. The American Lung Association warns that modern cleaning products often use what are known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These chemicals are often combined with other harmful substances like bleach and ammonia. How to prevent or reduce it: Open up the windows and let the room get accurate ventilation. Wear a face mask, goggles and gloves. Tread lightly and buy natural products that are not only less harmful to you, but also to the planet. In today’s environmentally conscious world, there are many accessible products that are natural and still powerful in cleaning. While natural products minimise the chance of damage, it is still best to use them in ventilated areas and always wear protection. Smoke Smoke in the home can be a big concern. Specifically, secondhand smoke is among the top contributors of pollutants in homes where individuals smoke. The release of chemicals from burning tobacco emits about four thousand different and harmful substances alone. For that reason, avoiding smoking in the home can lessen the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere. With so many chemicals in cigarettes whether through direct absorption into the body or secondhand being linked to diseases ranging from cancer to learning disabilities, it is best to eliminate all chances of having cigarette or cigar smoke in the house at any time. How to prevent or reduce it: Those who smoke should consider quitting in order to protect their own health. If that is not an option, then put a stop on all tobacco smoke by having a designated smoking area outside, one which is well away from open windows and doors.