What do you think of when you hear the word home? Maybe words like relaxation or family time come to mind? Your home is the place where you should feel safest. Unfortunately, it is very possible that your home could be making you sick. Toxins, gases, pesticides, molds and even mites can cause serious problems with your health the longer you are exposed to them.
The good news though is many of these hazards are preventable. Here is what you should be on the look out for in order to improve the air quality of your home:
- Cleaning Products- The products you use to clean your home can actually be very toxic. Try to avoid using products with 2-Butoxyethanol, Alylphenol extholytes, Dye, Ethanolamines, Fragrance, Pine/Citrus Oil and Quatenary Ammonium Compounds. These can cause eye irritation, headaches, breathing problems and even cancer. Make sure to always wear gloves, open windows and do not use more than what is recommended on the label. There are many products that come with a ‘green’ label that are safer and better for the environment to use. You can always make homemade cleaners. Use baking soda as an abrasive scrubbing product or vinegar and water to clean glass.
- Vacuum- We vacuum our home to keep it clean, but certain vacuums could actually spew all the allergens you are trying to clean up back into the air. We recommend using a HEPA filter. It stands for high efficiency particulate air and filters more than 99% of particulates in the air.
- Heating/Cooling System- Your air ducts can be the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This can cause respiratory issues. In order to prevent this, have your ducts cleaned at least every few years.
- Leaks- Leaks in your home can cause mold growth. This can be a serious issue for people prone to asthma or other breathing issues. Make sure to check your attic, basement, etc. for damp spots.
- Tobacco Smoke- Long-term exposure (even if it’s just second hand) increases your risk for lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory infections and many other lung problems. Don’t allow tobacco smoke in your home! The toxins stick to furniture and carpets.
- Lead/Asbestos- Was your home built before 1978? Then it probably used asbestos as a building and insulation material. Exposure to large amounts can increase your risk of lung disease and cancer. Homes built before then also contain lead paint. Lead poisoning affects about 900,000 American children every year. If you are worried about this being a problem in your home, contact a contractor!
Image credit: ThisOldHouse.com