Breathe in deeply. Do you know what you just breathed in? “Air”, sure. But what chemicals was in that air? What toxins, what germs? You can never be quite sure.
Unfortunately, we seem to have a habit of allowing really harmful elements into the air of our homes. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind if you’re thinking about air quality in your home.
The surrounding dirt
We’re all pretty familiar with the fact that the dirt outside is loaded with germs and toxins. But a lot of people aren’t quite aware of just how dangerous it can be. Outside, dirt doesn’t really pose that much of a problem. But when it gets inside your home, problems begin to form.
You may think that dirt inside the home is a problem easily avoided. And there are certainly a lot of easy things we can do that tackle the problem in a big way. Not wearing shoes around the house, washing our hands when we’ve been outside, that sort of thing. But dirt can easily get into your water supply after heavy rain. And any area that isn’t sealed properly is bound to let dirt in. This is why so many people have dirty attics! And once something is in the attic, the toxins and germs can get to the rest of the house more easily than you may think.
So many homes use various forms of pesticides. The most common use, of course, is against everyday bugs. Flies and other creepy crawlies getting in the home is hardly healthy in and of itself, of course. But resolving the problem using pesticides? This produces even more health risks. The chemicals in pesticides have been linked to lymphoma, as well as brain damage in children. Pesticides also include weed killers. When those toxins are in the air so close to your home, it doesn’t take much for them to get inside your home.
Keeping bugs out is pretty simple. Make sure your trash is sealed and taken out frequently. Don’t leave food lying about – even crumbs should be cleaned up immediately. Seal up any cracks you know about. As for the weed killers? Well, the sight of weeds isn’t really that bad! If you are that concerned about them, just get out there and pull ‘em.
Note the quotation marks. That’s what these sprays and other emanating substances are called, sure. But I think we all know that filling the air with chemicals hardly makes them fresh, right? In fact, anything with a synthetic fragrance poses a danger to the air you breathe. And synthetic fragrances are found in a lot of things. Deodorants, perfumes, soaps, sunscreens, lotions, conditioners… Hundreds of harmful chemicals are replete in these many common household products.
It’s really best to go with unscented products if you can. If you can get things that are scented via their heavy natural fruit and plant content, then that’s good. As for the products you’re using to freshen the air? I’d recommend that you take steps to actually, y’know, freshen the air. Opens some windows. Get better ventilation. Even a bowl of baking soda left in a room can help kill lingering odors.
You may have heard the name before, but you might not understand exactly what is it. You may not even know how commonly radon gas is found in homes. To put it simply, radon is the heaviest gas we’ve discovered. It emanates from the ground and gets into pretty much everything the air touches. It’s a byproduct of heavy industrial processes – the kind we already know isn’t too friendly to the environment.
Radon gas can get into your home through… Well, basically anything. Windows, cracks, the shower, exposed earth. Different homes will have different levels of radon gas in them. Most are very low-level and don’t pose much danger. (Though there isn’t really a “safe” level, technically!) But some families may be living among dangerous amounts. Reading up on radon gas symptoms is worth your time. Otherwise, your exposure could remain a mystery.
Carpets have been a staple of homes for decades. Once seen as a luxury item, it’s now one of the basics of modern homes. Recently, carpets have seemed to be declining in popularity against quality wooden flooring. But there’s no denying that most seem to love the feel of a carpet beneath their feet. But do you know what’s odd about the popularity of carpets? They’re actually extremely unhygienic.
Carpets absorb everything. Dirt, dust, harmful toxins – you name it. Sure, you might vacuum it once a week. But not even that is enough to get rid of the dust that accumulates at the rate at which it does in your average home. And how many people do you know who wash their carpet at least once every couple of months? That’s said to be the least you can do to keep your carpet clean in the long-term. Clean your carpet regularly, and give it some help by installing an air purifier. Better yet, just replace it with panel flooring!
None of us want to be on fire. So having flame retardant products in our home seems to make a lot of sense, right? And you can get flame retardant materials on pretty much everything these days. Carpets, wirings, bedding, mattresses, sofas, desks… Seriously, you probably have more flame retardant materials in your home than you currently think!
Well, flame retardant objects are produced by being stuffed with, or coated in, flame retardant chemicals. And these chemicals have been linked to a whole host of nasty ailments. Infertility? Brain damage? Hormone disruption? Yep, all among the list. But hey, aren’t we willing to take that risk in order to, y’know, not be on fire? Well, there’s the problem: flame retardant chemicals only delay a fire by a few seconds. They’re really not that useful. And when they do catch fire, they release even more carbon monoxide and soot than materials that haven’t been treated as such. And guess what the two leading causes of fire-related deaths are? Carbon monoxide and soot. Flame retardants aren’t worth the risk.