What is confined but takes up a lot of space and is filled with all sorts of things? You guessed it…our indoor air!
We need air to survive, we cannot breathe without it. Which is why our indoor air must be as healthy as we can make it.
Americans spend about 65 percent or more of their time somewhere indoors. If the indoor air we breathe in everyday is contaminated with toxic chemicals and endocrine-disrupting pesticides, we are harming our bodies more than we know.
Past research has shown that toxic pollution inside the home is about 2 to 5 times higher than outside. This means that for the majority of our days and our lives, we are spending our time in toxic environments.
Research has also shown that indoor air can contain about 19 different compounds, and dust can contain about 26 different compounds, including bacteria and fungi species.
The primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes stem from indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles that we cannot see. Not having enough adequate ventilation indoors can increase indoor pollutant levels. By bringing in fresh outdoor air occasionally indoors can help remove emissions and air pollutants.
Believe it or not, the air inside our homes can be polluted by formaldehyde, radon, lead found in house dust, shed skin cells, fire-retardants, chemicals, fragrances, and volatile organic compounds. Dust mites, mold pet dander and other allergens may also be “floating around” our homes.
Four of the most common chemicals found in the air in homes are:
Phthlates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in hair spray, fragrances, and nail polishes.
Alkylphenols, found in laundry detergents, all-purpose and disinfecting cleaners, hair color, spot removers, spermicides, and hair care products. Alkylphenols have been known to mimic female estrogen hormones in the body.
Parabens and Phenols, which are found in many household products.
Pesticides, which are dangerous chemicals that still manage to get into our homes from the outside.
It is probably impossible to keep a “100% dust-free” home, but it is possible to reduce dust to a minimum by getting rid of carpets, investing in a high-quality air purifier, and placing doormat by each entryway. Controlling the moisture level in your home by keeping your air temperature low will also help reduce moisture in the air. Installing exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, ventilating attics and crawlspaces, and cleaning evaporation trays in air conditioners, dehumidifiers and refrigerators also helps.
Be sure there is no mold lurking in your home, especially in the bathrooms or basement. Vacuum with a HEPA filter vacuum, and reduce dust mites by washing bedding often and in hot water. When cleaning your home, use non-toxic cleaners to reduce the toxin level in the air.