In many ways your home is an extension of your body. In order for your home to nurture your physical well-being, you need to be just as mindful of what you put in your home, as what you put in your mouth. Many common household items, including certain types of paint, finishes, carpeting, mattresses, curtains, dry cleaning, pressed wood (particleboard, MDF), and cleaning products, contain toxic chemicals. Many of the chemicals used in these household products, such as formaldehyde, toluene and benzene, are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) that, through a process called “off-gassing,” release fumes into the air, causing indoor air pollution. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that pollution inside a home could be two to five times higher than outside the home, even in large, industrialized cities.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple solutions to help you create healthier air in your home.
1. Open your windows to ventilate your home on a regular basis. Opening windows creates a way for chemicals released from common household items to exit and fresh air to enter. Even opening your windows for thirty minutes a day can make a difference.
2. Have people remove their shoes before they enter your home. By having a shoeless household, pesticides from lawn and garden products, pollutants and dirt will not be tracked inside your home.
3. Buy All Natural Cleaning Products. Household cleaning products are one of the leading causes of indoor air pollution. Many household cleaning products contain chemicals such as ammonia and phenol, which can irritate your skin and lungs, and can cause headaches. Look for non-toxic, environmentally safe household cleaning products. There is now a wide-range of all-natural cleaning products available in stores such as Whole Foods. Many of these products contain essential oils, so they have the pleasant aroma of lavender, basil, orange, or lemon. Click here for more info on cleaning products.
4. Decorate with plants. Plants may remove pollutants from the air as well as increase the oxygen in a room.
5. When purchasing new furniture for your home or office, invest in natural materials Select furniture made of solid wood instead of pressed wood, like particle board or MDF, which contain chemicals. Also avoid synthetic carpets and opt for hardwood floors or natural floor coverings made of untreated wool, jute, sisal or bamboo. Next time you buy new bedding look for organic