We all want to feel safe in our homes, but sometimes the danger lies in something we can’t see, the air. Here are some common pollutants and how they affect the health of your home and your family.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in certain rocks. The mineral was commonly used to in building materials to increase the strength. For example asbestos was added into concrete, asphalt, pipes, tile, flooring, clothes dryers, dishwashers, water heaters, roofing and adhesives. The advantage to using asbestos in these materials is that it was flame retardant, so it was also used to put on steel beams in larger buildings as a fireproof. Asbestos was used as a thermal insulation; it was used to control condensation. Lastly, asbestos was used as a component of a spray mixture that was put on ceilings and walls that produced a soft, textured look. It is safe to know if there is asbestos in your home and where it is contained. You should not have to worry if the asbestos has not been touched or damaged, but where more and more people are updating and renovating their homes it becomes a safety matter. Exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma. When someone breathes in asbestos it can be lodged into the lungs and possibly stay there for life which may cause inflammation and scarring. The effects of the inflammation and scarring may affect breathing that may cause disease.
The Importance of Indoor Air Quality
You may feel safe in your home, hiding from the outdoor pollution and dirty air. Most people spend 80-90% of their time indoors; working, cleaning, eating, sleeping and countless of other activities. However, the truth is, there may be polluted air in your own home. Indoor air pollution is mostly caused by poor circulation. There are many sources to indoor air pollution, number one reason being tobacco smoke. Fumes from coal, wood, oil and gas in uncirculated areas cause poor indoor air quality. Also, vapors from building materials like furniture and paints. Some homes may contain asbestos which may cause serious illnesses (mentioned above). Clean homes and circulation are key to you and your family’s health. Knowing the possible causes for indoor pollution will make the inside of your home a safer place to live.
Types of Indoor Pollutants:
- Biological Pollutants- animal dander, dust mites, pollen and more.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Pressed Wood Products- hardwood,
- plywood, wall paneling, fiberboard
- Nitrogen Dioxide
- Second-hand Smoke
Improving the Air Quality in Your Home
There are three strategic solutions to improve the quality of the air in your home: key word is circulation! door air coming indoors. Simple and inexpensive ways to ventilate your home is to open your windows, use window fans and a window air conditioner. Many homes contain heating and cooling systems that are forced air systems which do not bring fresh air into the home. It is especially important to ventilate while doing activities such as painting, cooking, sanding and any other activity that produces high amounts of pollutants. Indoor and outdoor air need to be exchanged. Stale air contains toxins! Breathing in the same stale air actually may cause some symptoms, such as:
- H eadaches
- E xhaustion
Air Cleaners – The point of an air cleaner is to collect the pollutants indoors. The effectiveness of an air cleaner is measured by how well the indoor pollutants are collected and how much clean air goes through the filtering element. There are different models with different techniques, but the main purpose to collect the bad air and filter our cleaner air.
Plants– Luckily, there is a natural and more attractive way to clean the air in your home: house plants. House plants can be very beneficial to our lives. There are certain plants that act exactly like a manufactured air cleaner. These special plants purify and replenish the old and fusty air by filtering out toxins, pollutants and the carbon dioxide and restoring us with clean oxygen. Here is a list of many plants that you should keep in your home to help cleanse the air in your home. Just think, the cleaner the air the healthier you are!
- Chinese Evergreen
- Aloe Vera, Burn Plant
- Spider Plants
- Golden Pothos
- Gerbera Daisy
- Common English Ivy
- Heart Leaf Philodendron
- Mauna Loa
- Bamboo Palm
- Janet Craig
- Peace Lily
- Mother-in-Law’s Tongue