A Healthier Home
Your home should be a safe haven from the stresses of the outside world. Yet our homes have in some respects become hazardous to our health!
- According to Ross Soloway, administrator of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, “Toxins in US homes now account for 90% of all reported poisonings each year”.
- According to an EPA study the air inside the average home is typically 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside and that certain levels of chemicals were 70 times higher than outdoors.
- Richard Wiles, VP of the Environmental Work Group reports that an ongoing EWG project, which regularly test blood, cord blood, urine and breast milk from 72 adults, has so far identified the presence of 455 chemicals that should not be in the body. Another survey performed by EWG indicates that the average American adult is exposed to 126 chemicals each day.
So where do these toxins come from?
In the last 25 years the construction of energy efficient buildings has led to a sharp reduction in the amount of fresh air in our homes, workplace and schools. Exposure to paint fumes, stains, furniture and household cleaning products has made inside air more toxic.
- Paints, Stains & Cleaners contain VOC’s (volatile organic compounds, a type of airborne pollutant) and other chemical compounds
- Furniture can be made of materials like polyurethane, plywood or particleboard many of which are treated with toxins like formaldehyde which can emit fumes into the air for up to 5 years
- Stain Resistant finishes on clothing, furniture and carpets can be a source of chemical exposure
- The pesticides and other chemicals we spray to kill bugs near our homes and on our lawns can be tracked into the home
- Candles we burn and room freshener products can emit toxins into the air
What can you do to make your home safer and lessen your exposure?
- Choose Safer Cleaning Products. Look for products that list their ingredients on the label and contain non-petroleum based surfactants that are chlorine and phosphate free, “non-toxic” and biodegradable
- Consider replacing carpet with tile or natural, untreated substances like cork and bamboo. This can help to reduce dust as well as build-up of chemicals brought into your home on shoes, and from cleaning products, etc, which are difficult to extract from carpet
- Circulate fresh air through your house as often as possible
- Consider use of an air filter
- Purchase furniture with whole wood frames and natural fiber cushions, like cotton, wool and leather, when possible
- Use low VOC paints and stains
- Plants can help to remove some chemicals from the air and are a good source of oxygen
- You spend a lot of time in your bed/bedroom - an important place to create a healthy environment. Organic cotton bedding and towels are readily available. And natural paints can be found in a variety of colors and finishes. You can even find organic mattresses, pillows, etc.
- Leave your shoes at the door to track in less chemical residue.
For additional tips and information visit these websites:
- National Institute of Health: http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/
- Children's Health Envirnomental Coatlition: http://www.checknetorg/healthehouse/home/home.asp
- Environmental Protection Agency: 1-800-490-9198 for Free Printed Materials or visit http://www.epa.gov/