Prioritizing Clean Air in Your Home
Guest Post Contributed by the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center
April 11, 2019
Staying on track with your health may seem like a simple task. Paying attention to the food you eat and how often you exercise are both important factors for well-rounded health, but another element of our health that oftentimes goes overlooked is the air quality around us. Because we can not physically see the air we’re breathing in and what may be contaminating it, prioritizing it can easily fall by the wayside. It’s important to know what toxins may be hiding in your home, how to check for them, and how to improve your overall air quality as well.
The potential problems
The quality of air in your home is an important factor in keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy. Over time, potential toxins in your home can be released into the air around you. Depending on when your home was built, there may be a higher risk of exposure to toxins. If your home was built before 1970, there is a chance a material used in the building process was asbestos. The inhalation of asbestos fibers may cause a rare cancer called mesothelioma. Because symptoms don’t appear for 10-50 years after exposure, it’s important to to know if there is asbestos in your home and to get ahead of potential health risks.
It’s also important to be aware of any mold that may be in your home. It can be found almost anywhere, as long as the environment is right. This toxin thrives in dark and damp spaces, so ensuring you have proper insulation, as well as good plumbing is a vital step in staying away from this health risk. Generally, mold can easily be found because it visibly appears, and also due to its musty odor. Although this doesn’t pose as big of a health hazard, it is still worth looking out for and preparing your home for increased air safety.
Another possible hazard in your home is lead paint. Although the use of this type of paint was banned in 1978, it may still be lingering on your walls. It doesn’t cause any harm unless it has been sanded, chipped or flakes, but it too can lead to a harmful risk of lead poisoning. This sickness may be hard to detect in the early stages and can build over time, so being aware of the materials used in the construction of your home is important in making your way towards cleaner air.
The more common causes of air pollution in your home can include cleaning and beauty products. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, can be found in many household products. The most common forms of VOCs include:
- Acetone (nail polish remover, furniture polish)
- Butanal (burning candles, stoves, barbecue)
- Carbon Disulfide (chlorinated water)
- Ethanol (laundry detergent, dish detergent)
- Terpenes (soap, laundry detergent)
Luckily, there are easy alternatives to these that will not only create cleaner air at home, but help to save some money as well.
How to create a toxin free environment
If you are trying to find out if your home may contain asbestos, lead paint, or another contaminant, the first step is to contact a professional. These are not materials we can remove ourselves, and the process needs to be done in the safest way possible. Although it may seem like a hassle to hire someone, putting your safety and the safety of others around you first should always be your biggest priority.
Removing VOCs is something you can do on your own. By substituting harmful products for DIY cleaning supplies you can ensure a cleaner space.
The essential list of cleaning tools include:
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice
- Castile Soap
- Essential Oils
There are many cleaning products you can make yourself. If you want a new air freshener, combine baking soda and an essential oil such as lavender into a jar. A simple counter top cleaner includes only vinegar and water and can be used on essentially any surface excluding marble and granite. Due to the acidity, this may not be good for these countertop materials. This product can also be used to clean your oven. Another household item that can be useful when cleaning is castile soap. If you have this in your home, you can make an at home dishwasher detergent and dish soap. Combine water and castile soap and pour it into your dishwasher, as well as white vinegar in a different compartment. You can even make your own fabric softener by combining your favorite essential oil with white vinegar.
To keep the air clean in other simpler ways, make sure your air conditioner is always clean. You can also use beeswax candles as a natural air purifier. Another option is to place plants such as bamboo, ficus, and aloe vera around your home to assist in the air purifying process. In the beginning stages, the idea of ridding your home of toxins may seem daunting. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do on your own to improve air quality and prioritizing your health is something that should never take the back seat.
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This health center receives HHS funding and has Federal Public Health Service (PHS) deemed status with respect to certain health or health-related claims, including medical malpractice claims, for itself and its covered individuals.