Learn more about how indoor air pollution plagues your home and what you can do to get rid of it.
Home is where the heart is, but sadly, it’s also a hub for toxins. In fact, air pollution can be just as bad -- or ten times worse -- inside your home than it is outside of it.
How is this possible? After all, you spray air fresheners, light candles, and disinfect surfaces regularly. But it turns out that deceptively enough, those products and practices contribute to poor indoor air quality.
What’s Making You Sneeze?
Indoor air pollution comes from a wide range of offenders. The EPA names an expansive list of causes, including cleaning products and air fresheners, as well as combustion sources like oil, space heaters, and wood furnishing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) point to even more sources, such as “bacteria, mold, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, dust mites, cockroaches, and pollen.” That’s a pretty sizable list of pollutants.
The Frightening Effects
How dangerous are these toxins? For the most part, they’re simply a source of discomfort, causing you to sneeze here and there or suffer from itchy eyes.
But in some cases, depending on the level of toxicity, it can be much worse. According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), “Some pollutants can cause diseases that show up much later, such as respiratory diseases or cancer.” Other potential long-term consequences are lung infections and asthma.
While it may require more than a weekly dusting, there are ways to greatly improve the air quality in your home. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Make your home a no-smoking zone
If you smoke inside, the smell is the least of your worries. The American Lung Association states that secondhand smoke “causes an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths and up to 50,000 heart disease deaths.” And for children, secondhand smoke can lead to problems, like asthma and pneumonia. So for the sake of you and your loved ones, don’t smoke indoors.
- Buy fragrance-free cleaners
Your nose might love that clean linen scent of air fresheners, but the rest of your body doesn’t. According to WebMD, “synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air.” To rid yourself of these pollutants, transition to natural fresheners. Buy a box of baking soda, sprinkle some lavender essential oil, or crack open a window.
- Invest in a great air filter
What about all the other pollutants? Fight them off with an air purifier, especially one with a HEPA filter. WebMD states that HEPA filters can reduce levels of lead and other toxins in your home, plus a whole bunch of allergens like pollen and pet dander. One of the best products on the market is the BioGS 2.0 Air Purifier by Rabbit Air. The HEPA filter can trap 99.97% of allergens and pollutants in your home as small as .3 microns, which means you can stop panicking and start getting back to that much-deserved relaxation you enjoy in your home.
Sallie Koenig is a writer and actress living in Rochester, NY. She’s a wellness enthusiast, cat lover, and all around health nut.