Contributed by Drew Kobb
And although man has taken great steps to reduce the number of harmful pollutants being released into the air, we still have a lot of work to do.
Consider the following tips that will make the air in your home both cleaner and safer:
Buy Fragrance Free
We often associate cleanliness with that familiar lemon or pine scent pervading the air. However, not all air fresheners and scented cleaning supplies are safe. Many fragrances are derived from petroleum products, and their effects on air quality haven’t been sufficiently tested.
Some plug-in air fresheners even tested positive for up to 20 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be toxic if inhaled. You’ll notice that many green cleaning products have only a mild scent or no scent at all.
If you want to freshen up your home with a pleasant fragrance, go natural. Flowers, sliced lemons, and baking soda are great natural air fresheners.
Bring in the Outdoors
Plants act as natural air filters for VOCs. Keeping a few houseplants around the home can greatly reduce the number of unseen toxins in the air. In a study conducted by NASA, researchers found that the average houseplant consumed 87% of all VOCs in a 24-hour cycle. These compounds were then driven into the soil and converted to food for the plant.
Which houseplants are the best? Spider plants, aloe vera, philodendrons and even daisies rank highly among the best air-filtering plants.
Check for Radon
Radon is a highly reactive gas that has been linked to several cases of cancer, and it is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. A product of the natural decay of uranium, radon is present in most soils and can, in some cases, seep through cracks in holes in your home.
Thankfully, checking for radon is a relatively painless process. Simply purchase a home-testing kit, and you’ll have your answer in minutes.
If you end up having a radon problem, you have a few different options. One involves installing a vent and fan system that redirects the radon outside. You might also be required to repair any cracks you find on your foundation. In any case, try to keep your home as ventilated as possible.
Close the Lid
While not as life threatening as radon gas, household germs can be transmitted easily to bath towels, toothbrushes, and hard surfaces by simply leaving the toilet lid open while flushing. Most standard American toilets come equipped with lids for a reason. By closing the lid before flushing particularly in the wintertime—you will greatly reduce your risk for bacterial disease.
[Editor’s note: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So when waste you can see flushes down the toilet, vapor you can’t see comes up. It has to go somewhere. Either the toilet lid will reflect it back down, or it will settle on everything else in the room!]
A Smoke-Free Zone
Cigarette smoke is an obvious cause of respiratory and other diseases, including cancer. Secondhand smoke is responsible for roughly 42,000 deaths in the United States every year.
If you’re a smoker, smoke outside, or try to limit the number of rooms you smoke in—especially if you have children.
Regular hygiene and washing the clothes you smoke in can also reduce the number of chemicals in the air.
Another way to cut down on indoor smoke levels is to make the switch to electronic cigarettes. Unlike traditional cigarettes, which release up to 4,000 harmful airborne chemicals in a single puff, electronic cigarettes release only water vapor.
While more research needs to be conducted on the effects electronic cigarettes have on one’s health, current research suggests that electronic cigarettes are a better alternative for keeping the air in your home pollutant-free.
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field. He also has a passion for the environment.