Air Quality and Your Health

It seems like there is a day, week or month dedicated to just about everything. Did you know that recently it was Air Quality Awareness week? It occurred between May 2 – 6 and in fact, there was a lot about air quality in the news.

Each day, we are exposed to a number of pollutants in the air we breathe, including lead, formaldehyde, fragrances, chemicals, dust mites, and other irritants and impurities. These toxins can lead to the development or exacerbation of allergies, asthma, and other lung issues, especially among the elderly and the very young. If you're concerned about pollution, allergens, and other toxins in the air your family breathes, read on for six tips to help you breathe better by purifying the air quality in your home.

1. Vacuum With a Hepa Filter 

Choosing a vacuum with a certified HEPA filter can effectively remove fire-retardant chemicals, lead, pollen, dust mites, and pet dander from your home, instead of leaving them in the carpet where they can be released into the air. Vacuum your entire home, including walls, carpet edges, and upholstered furniture, at least twice a week, paying special attention to high traffic areas. You should also clean your filter whenever it is dirty (usually about once a month depending on your home).

2. House Plants

Did you know that certain types of indoor plants can purify the air? If you love having greenery and flowers in your home, choose clean air plants like English Ivy, Wax Begonia, Boston Ferns, or Spider Plants. For best results, aim for at least two of these plants in every 100 square feet of your space.

3. Minimize Chemical Pollutants

First and foremost, you should always avoid smoking indoors, but there are less obvious chemical pollutant sources, too. Choose low emissions products that are certified by a third-party and labeled by reputable organizations, and avoid harsh cleaning chemicals and solvents. You can purchase "green" cleaning products in most stores, or you can easily make your own effective and eco-friendly versions.

4. Use a Dehumidifier

To prevent the growth of mold and dust mites, the humidity level in your home should ideally be around 30% to 50%. In the summer months, using a dehumidifier as well as running the air conditioner helps keep moisture low and allergens to a minimum.

5. Maintain Your HVAC Systems

If you are constantly running your heater or air conditioner with a dirty filter, those toxins are released into the air you breathe. Replace filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer to instantly improve your home's air quality.

6. Avoid Synthetic Fragrances

While these scents may make your home smell fresher, they are actually increasing the number of chemicals in the air. Instead of artificial fragrances, opt for fragrance-free or naturally scented laundry products and cleansers, avoid aerosol sprays, open the windows and let fresh air in, and scent the kitchen with sliced lemons, baking soda, and herbs. If you like to burn candles, choose natural soy versions.

By following these six steps, you and your family will be enjoying the fresh indoor air in no time.