Follow these tips to keep common indoor air contaminants at bay:
1. When temperatures allow, open the windows! Not only does this save energy, it also allows fresh air to flush away contaminants.
2. Research groundwater conditions in your area. For spills within a couple square miles, review public documents for health risks. I will likely have a future post all about this if there is interest.
3. Research naturally occuring levels of Radon in your area, and if present, test for it in your home. Although this is a “natural” element, the structure of our homes combined with our ventilation systems create “unnatural” conditions, allowing radon to build up in indoor air.
4. Avoid conventional dry cleaners. Conventional dry cleaners use perchloroethene (known as PERC or PCE). Fresh dry cleaned clothes off-gas PCE and degradation products after bringing them home. The main degradation product is TCE, which is even more harmful to public health, especially pregnant women. Health standards warn even low concentrations can cause third congenital heart defects.
5. Look for low to no VOC alternatives for any caulking, painting, stains, etc. you plan to use indoors. If you are renting, and your landlord performs work in your home, ask if they can use low VOC products.
6. Maintain your HVAC system. Routine replacement of your air filter not only reduces dust particles in your home. It also increases efficiency, saving energy, and reducing your impact on climate change. 🙂 Ironically, research has shown a dusty home actually reduces the health hazards of radon concentrations (but that isn’t enough for me to live in filth :)).
7. Use simple + natural cleaning products. There are many recipes online – some of which I provide in my 30 Day Eco Challenge.
8. Ditch the plastic shower curtain liner. That smell you get when you open up a new plastic shower curtain liner? It is phthalates, an endocrine disruptor that affects our hormone production. Replace with a hemp shower curtain* for a completely natural, plant-based solution.
9. And of course, plants do help by absorbing some contaminants in the air, and are very enjoyable!
Peace + Thanks for Reading,