Breathe Easy

Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality




Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com

For much of the country, winter means spending more time indoors—and exposed to potential toxins. Indoor air quality is critically important to children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems that may be especially sensitive to pollutants, according to WebMD.com. Recognizing and avoiding some of the most common sources of toxins in the home can safeguard everyone’s health year-round and notably now, at the height of the season when humans tend to hibernate in their warm abodes.

• The Environmental Working Group warns about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be found in many household products from new carpets and furniture to paints and air fresheners. These airborne toxins can irritate eyes and respiratory systems, and increase the risk of cancer and liver, kidney and central nervous system damage. Look for low- and zero-VOC products; buy solid wood, hardwood or exterior-grade plywood and antique furniture. Open the windows once in a while as a natural, refreshing way to ventilate.

• How, when and how often we vacuum is also important. The Indoor Air Quality Association recommends a slow and steady motion “to keep dust from flying up into the air.” They also suggest pet owners should vacuum every two days. When choosing a vacuum cleaner, go with a model that includes a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to pick up microscopic particles a regular vacuum cannot remove.

• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends using and properly maintaining home ventilation systems, including exhaust fans, air conditioning and heating units; preventing mold by controlling moisture and humidity, including checking pipes and window sills for condensation; and keeping the home smoke-free, because burning cigarettes release at least 69 chemicals that can cause cancer.

• Place a large floor mat just inside each outside door, suggests WebMD.com, as people track in many chemicals—especially from pesticides and other pollutants—via the dirt on their shoes, which also can be removed before entering.


This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Whole Foods Versus Vitamins

Today, even mindful consumers that eat healthy can’t consume as many servings of fruit and vegetables to match what our body was getting when the soil was producing fully nutritious food.

Improve Your Health and Wellness at Annual Spring Show

Experience free health screenings, sample and buy healthy lifestyle products and connect with local health and wellness professionals at the 2019 Health and Wellness Spring Show.

Tour Energy-Efficient Homes at Green House Fest

See the elements of a green home up close from 1 to 3 p.m., May 5, at Green House Fest.

An Afternoon of Time Travel

Kathryn McGlynn Hypnosis is offering an Afternoon of Time Travel from 1 to 4 p.m., May 11.

Tasting Event Showcases Newton Community Restaurants

For one evening from 5:30 to 8 p.m., April 8, chefs and owners from 40 area restaurants will gather at the Newton Marriott for Spring Seasonings: A Taste of Our Towns.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Whole Foods Versus Vitamins

Giving the Body What it Needs
Today, even mindful consumers that eat healthy can’t consume as many servings of fruit and vegetables to match what our body was getting when the soil was producing fully nutritious food.

Improve Your Health and Wellness at Annual Spring Show

Experience free health screenings, sample and buy healthy lifestyle products and connect with local health and wellness professionals at the 2019 Health and Wellness Spring Show.

Tour Energy-Efficient Homes at Green House Fest

See the elements of a green home up close from 1 to 3 p.m., May 5, at Green House Fest.

An Afternoon of Time Travel

Kathryn McGlynn Hypnosis is offering an Afternoon of Time Travel from 1 to 4 p.m., May 11.

Tasting Event Showcases Newton Community Restaurants

For one evening from 5:30 to 8 p.m., April 8, chefs and owners from 40 area restaurants will gather at the Newton Marriott for Spring Seasonings: A Taste of Our Towns.

Unlock the Power of Soil

Composting Creates New Life
Every time a piece of food (or other compostable) is thrown away, the potential for future life is lost. There is another choice. A choice that creates new life and benefits society.