Today is the warmest day for quite awhile high above 50F. Indoor air quality is at a low point at my house from a long cold winter. Because of the weather, I decided to open the windows and bring some fresh air in for a bit. Out-gassed organic chemicals come from all the manufactured products used as construction materials, furniture, paint, cat litter, trash and cleaning products in our homes. A number of studies have been done to look at the concentration of volatile organic compounds in the average house. There is significant data to show that some of the poorest quality of air we breathe is in our homes. Many people spend the majority of their time indoors at work or in their home, which means a they breathe a high concentration of poor quality air. Problems with smog and health in cities prone to bad air quality is common knowledge. Few people consider their home as a potential indoor air quality concern.
“Harmful indoor pollutants represent a serious health problem that is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths each year, according to a 2002 World Health Organization report.”
I have been waiting for the first days above freezing to open the windows and get some air exchange. Houses in New England have been shut tight for months now. I am delighted warmer weather and light of spring is here. I can hear the melting drip and feel the breeze. What can you do to breathe cleaner air in your home?
I do a number of things to support good indoor air quality. Do any of these options appeal?
- Eliminate regular use of Candles
- Less or no chemical Air Fresheners
- Less chemical use in the house, natural chemical cleaners as necessary
- Hot water or steam for easy cleaning
- Healthy Air exchange
- Clean the filters in air conditioners on a regular basis
- Use indoor Plants to naturally detoxify the air.
- Make a point to get outside for fresh air more often.
For me there are a couple of things you bring into your home to help keep the air clean that are pretty accessible. First, bring fresh air into your home when weather permits. Open windows and doors and use window fans to promote air exchange. It is wonderful to use screens and fresh air during the spring and early summer
Natural Cleaners are available from a number of sources. There are companies like Ava Anderson that make cleaner products by design. http://avaandersonnontoxic.com/ It is important to check the labels on whatever you buy.
Plants take a little more effort, because you need to keep them alive in order for them to help the air quality. But there are a number of plants that do well in artificial light that go after common household toxins. These plants are chemical manufacturing plants. They take in the toxins and convert them for use. There are a wide variety of plants that can filter indoor air. Here is a list of a few with their common names. I have the ones with the * and can attest to their hardiness.
Asparagus Fern Corn Stalk or Corn Plant*·
Pothos* Purple Waffle Plant
Snake Plant Spider plant* Weeping Fig
This spring is a wonderful opportunity to prioritize fresh air in your home using any of these techniques. Consider adding fresh air and live air filters to your spring cleaning regimen.