Most people are aware of the impact of outdoor pollution. Smog, vehicle exhaust and pesticides are recognized as major health threats. But how many people recognize the many dangers inside their homes? Sadly, very few. Yet our houses are full of irritants that can be absorbed through the lungs, skin, eyes and digestive tract.
Improved building standards have made newer houses almost airtight, increasing the amount of allergens, chemicals and pollutants in indoor air. This is particularly problematic in winter when windows are more likely to remain closed. The increased pollution of indoor air has been cited by many health specialists to be the most likely cause of a recent increase in respiratory diseases and conditions such as allergies and asthma. Other indoor pollutants include chemicals in new carpeting, harsh detergents and even grooming products and cosmetics. You can help reduce risk to yourself and your family by:
- Using as few chemicals as possible around the house. (Hair sprays, room sprays and other aerosols, oven cleaners, carpet stain removers and many furniture polishes frequently contain harsh chemicals.) Many supermarkets now carry “organic” cleaners or you can make your own.
- Stay away from pesticides as they have proven severe negative impacts on health.
- Investing in an air purifier to help trap airborne pollutants and allergens.
- Watching what you put on your skin. Soaps, shampoos (particularly those that contain sodium lauryl sulfate) and many body lotions contain irritating and allergenic substances. If you don’t believe that your skin absorbs substances applied to it, try rubbing a garlic clove on the sole of your foot. Within a minute or so, you will taste garlic.
- Keeping bathrooms and other “damp” areas well ventilated. This will discourage the growth of harmful moulds. Clean bathroom walls and wash bathroom mats often.
- When purchasing toys for the kids consider the potentially harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Choose healthy options instead.