In honor of National Safety Month (June), there are many things to consider. we want to address ways to keep your home as “safe” and healthy as possible. Injury prevention is a big focus, but as a wellness center focused on a healthy lifestyle, we like to consider other ways to consider your well-being at home. How does your home stack up? Take a look at some of the ways you can improve the indoor quality of your abode:
Indoor Air Quality
Did you know that most Americans spend about 90% of their time inside of their homes or other buildings? According to the EPA, indoor air pollutants can be up to 2-5 times higher than that of the average outdoor areas. And unfortunately, that’s only increased through the ages, due to more synthetic materials being used in construction, off-gassing from furniture, mattresses, and household cleaners. There is a connection between many commonly found indoor air pollutants like radon, mold, carbon monoxide, Legionella bacterium, with more, and effects on human and animal health.
For example, indoor air pollutants like dust mites, pet dander, and mold can trigger breathing issues like asthma attacks. Possibly more significantly, radon is a human carcinogen and the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, lack of concentration and more can sometimes be related to “sick building syndrome,” a situation that occurs when people experience these symptoms after spending time in a certain building. These symptoms are now being attributed more often to a variety of building indoor air concerns and contaminants.
How can you protect yourself from indoor contaminants and pollutants?
You might have heard about houseplants working to clean the air in your home. According to the American Lung Association, this idea was perpetuated based on a 1989 NASA study conducted to discover ways to clean air in space stations. The study did find that plants were able to clean the air in a closed, chamber, but it’s unclear whether that translates to larger rooms like those in most apartments or houses. The main consensus is that even if they do support fresher air in the home, they aren’t a substitute for avoiding contaminated air in the first place. Things you can do:
- Filtering your air at home and at work is an important way to reduce your exposure. An air filter (or more if your space warrants it) like Air Doctor removes contaminants like smoke, bacteria, viruses, pet dander, pollen and mold, and removes up to 96% of particles that are 1-3 microns.
- Reduce dust by sweeping and vacuuming regularly.
- Use a damp cloth or microfiber cloth to remove dust.
- Reduce humidity in your spaces with a dehumidifier if necessary to avoid mold and mildew.
- Change air filters and appliance filters regularly.
- Test your home for harmful gases like radon.
- Use “clean” cleaning products and detergents, and avoid chemical air fresheners
Don’t Drink the Water?
Many people assume that tap water is safe to drink, but it can still contain harmful contaminants such as lead, chlorine, and bacteria.
According to the CDC, a number of contaminants can be in our water systems, the most common being:
- Chemicals and minerals that are found in soil (ie. arsenic, radon, and uranium)
- Land use practices that include items like fertilizers, pesticides, and livestock
- Manufacturing processing
- Sewer overflows
- Closeby septic systems that could be malfunctioning
Installing a water filtration system can help remove these contaminants and improve the taste of your water. Water filters can range from simple pitcher filters to under-sink or whole-house systems. By choosing a filtration system that meets your specific needs, you can ensure that your family is drinking clean, healthy water. A whole-house filter is another option, and that will ensure your showers are also putting out filtered water, which is ideal since your skin is absorbing whatever chemicals are in the water.
“Cleaner” Cleaning Products
In addition to filtering the indoor air and water, it’s crucial to use safe cleaning products in the home. Many traditional household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to both human health and the environment. Instead, look for eco-friendly options that are free of harmful chemicals and toxins. Not only are these products safer for your family, but they’re also better for the planet.
It can be confusing and overwhelming to figure out which products are actually chemical-laden or not, so it’s super helpful to have the Environmental Working Group’s website, to turn to. There’s also an app. Both offer ratings for a variety of products ranging from detergents and soaps to personal care products like shampoos and deodorants, to help you sort through the vast choices on the market today and make the best and safest decisions for your family.
In conclusion, filtering air and water, watching for mold, and using safe cleaning products in the home are all critical steps to promoting good health. By taking proactive measures to ensure that the air and water in your home are clean and healthy, you can help prevent potential health issues and improve your overall well-being. Remember, prevention is key, and investing in your health is always worth it.