Last Updated on February 21, 2014
Most people spend a large percentage of their time indoors and this means that they are constantly exposed to indoor air pollution. Many newer homes are designed with energy efficiency and enhanced insulation in mind and this usually means that there is very little exchange of air between the indoor and outdoor. Many doors and windows in most homes remain tightly shut most of the time and this leads to limited air circulation that encourages air pollution.
1. The problem of air pollution
Most people think that air pollution is a problem that occurs outdoors due to emissions, car exhausts, and other toxins in the environment. The fact is that indoor air can be just as harmful and research shows that people are actually more exposed to air pollution when they are indoors than outdoors. Toxic chemicals can be found everywhere in the home and while most people will try to keep the home safe, some situations are often difficult to control especially when you need to use different household products.
2. Volatile Organic Compounds
There are some things that you can do to improve the air quality in your home. One important thing is keeping VOCs out of your home. Most paints and other products contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in high levels. The paints emit a toxic gas when applied on the walls and once released, the quality of the air in the home is compromised. Exposure to the gases can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea among other symptoms. Long-term exposure has been linked to several disorders including liver damage, cancer and kidney disease. When buying paint, choose low or no VOC paint.
3. Avoid synthetic scents
When shopping for products to use around the home, it is a good idea to find out those that are safe. Products like cleaning supplies, air fresheners and other scented products often contribute to indoor air pollution. Make sure that you read labels when shopping and look for products that are synthetic fragrance free that do not have toxic chemicals. You can find cleaning products that are safe and although they might cost more, the extra expense is worth it to protect the lives of your loved ones.
4. Create a no-smoking zone
You can keep your home fresh and healthy by keeping it tobacco smoke free. Tobacco is a huge contributor to indoor pollution and many of the chemicals emitted are harmful to health. Children who are exposed to second hand smoke have an increased risk of getting different health complications including asthma, ear and respiratory infections and cancer. If anyone in the home is a smoker, they should do so outside the home and never indoors. This will also help to keep the home smelling nice.
There are other ways to keep indoor pollution to a minimum and they include taking shoes off at the door to avoid tracking dust, debris and other toxins into the home. You can create a healthier home environment for all by making it a “shoes free zone”. Another effective way to improve the indoor air is by buying some houseplants. Many houseplants help to clean the air by removing toxins from the air and producing oxygen.