By Elizabeth Rago
A recent study linked the exposure to poor air quality to heart disease and stroke. Indoor air quality (IAQ) has increasingly become a topic of conversation in regards to the immediate and long term effects pollutants can have on you and your loved ones. What steps can you take to rid your home of poor IAQ and ultimately bring peace of mind?
1. Clean the air.
What if you could filter out elements like allergens, dust, pollen, and stale tobacco smoke and increase the humidity in your home to a consistent level? The Mayo Clinic suggests the addition of humidifiers in homes to ease symptoms of the common cold and other respiratory conditions, but warn consumers about the importance of proper maintenance of humidifying units. You see, damp filters and standing water promotes the growth of mold and bacteria, causing further harm to your family’s IAQ.
2. Air out the dry cleaning.
Dry cleaning is not technically “dry” as the chemical solvent perchloroethylene (PERC), rather than water, is used during the dry cleaning process. Classified as a human carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PERC has shown to cause cancer in rats during studies where the rodents have ingested or inhaled fumes over a period of time. Remove the plastic bag immediately when you get home and allow your garments to air outside or in a well-ventilated room away from your family. You can find a certified dry cleaner in your area through America’s Best Cleaners, which holds members under strict guidelines and site inspection standards.
3. What are you inviting in?
Be educated about what you bring in the house. Paint, for example contains volatile organic compounds (VOC) and is a key component of the composition of oil based paint. Make sure you always apply paint in a well-ventilated area. Companies like Yolo are now making more environmentally responsible alternative paints.
Children are very sensitive to secondhand smoke as their lungs continue to develop physically. Asthma and
other respiratory illnesses are triggered by secondhand smoke from pipes, cigarettes, and cigars.
5. Find a reputable remodeler.
Home improvement is very common today and whether you are “doing it yourself” or commissioning a professional to make aesthetic changes to your home, consulting a reputable remodeler/home remodeling advisor can make or break the quality of your indoor air.
Disturbing the environment while rehabbing your home stirs up elements like mold, so making sure you have adequate ventilation is key. The EPA suggests for new structures, “When building new homes, homebuyers today are increasingly concerned about the IAQ of their homes. Builders can employ a variety of construction practices and technologies to decrease the risk of poor IAQ in their new homes using the criteria from EPA’s Indoor airPLUS as a guide.”
Making the decision to provide quality indoor air for your family will ultimately result in a happier, healthier environment that paves the path to wellness.
– Elizabeth Rago is a writer for Venta Airwasher specializing in health, wellness, and women’s lifestyle content. Elizabeth writes the weekly column, The Circular Home for Chicago Shopping (an editorial partner of the Chicago Tribune) and is Senior Editor of All Things Girl, highlighting topics related to the modern domestic woman. Connect with Elizabeth on Google+.