How Clean Is the Air in Your Home Right Now?

The National Institute of Environmental Health Services and the Environmental Protection Agency have published a whole host of studies indicating significant health hazards caused by air pollution. The studies focus on outdoor air pollution and the risks associated with it. Such as an increase in asthma rates among children, cardiovascular issues with the elderly and even proof of urban air pollutants crossing the placenta and harming cognitive abilities in unborn children.

The sense of fear these findings induce when the media gets a hold of them is profound, usually causing people to opt for spending more time inside the home where the perceived air quality is cleaner and controllable. Unfortunately it is not quite as simple as closing the doors and windows to keep out the ‘bad air’.

First let’s look at items in the home that have potentially harmful emissions. Many furniture manufacturers use lumber treated with formaldehyde, which then release off-gases. Carpeting is commonly sprayed with formaldehyde as well, as it keeps rodents from making their nest in the carpeting while the roll sits in a warehouse. Many older homes contain asbestos and lead paint, critically dangerous substances proven to cause cancer and permanent brain damage.

The use of air fresheners and incense is a common habit for many people; however it is just not safe for our health. The chemicals in air fresheners contain ozone depleting substances, formaldehyde, ethylene based glycol and terpenes. Even natural incense can trigger asthma, dyspepsia and other respiratory difficulties.

So what can the average homeowner do to clear the air in the home without bringing in the polluted air from outside? To begin with, dispose of all the so-called air freshening products in the home including scented candles, sprays, plug in devices, oils, incense and anything else there may be.

Now investigate the home for asbestos and lead paint, but if you find evidence of either material DO NOT remove it yourself. Have professionals remove the harmful substances in a government approved manner. It may cost a little bit of money, but it is well worth the expense considering the harmful affects the lead and asbestos could be having on your family.

Now take a good look in the attic, crawlspaces, basements, sills, ventilation cavities and anywhere else there may be moisture. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that 75% of people who live in spaces with even a small amount of mould will develop asthma or Cardiopulmonary Disease. If there is mould found in the home, make sure all evidence of it is removed properly, then invest in the installation of closed cell spray foam insulation. The use of this kind of insulation is beneficial in so many ways, and not just for the health of those in the home.