Did you know that interior spaces are more polluted than outside?
It’s true – even though I don’t wear shoes inside, I know that my electronics, and off-gassing from new products add to the toxins in my home. It certainly doesn’t help that I live in a light industrial area, with trains running nearby, a million smokers, a nearby laundry room and other things that add to the toxin level.
Here is a small sampling of the source of indoor toxins and pollutants:
The reason I am bringing up this important issue now is that there is a huge increase in the number of toxins brought into the home when people choose to renovate or redecorate. The toxin hazards of the work are often neglected in the rush of material budgeting, getting in touch with contractors, and completing the plan. The presence of lead, asbestos, radon, and carbon monoxide are toxins that are common in home construction and can pose fatal health risks. Power tools that spew fumes, such as welding and overheating center drills for metal work are also biohazards (not to mention firetraps).
Also, in order to make a home more green, people often throw out or get rid of their old housewares/furniture and replace them with new green versions. Not only is this wasteful and a misuse of resources, but these new products have off-gas toxins like formaldehyde.
“The less we throw away, the less we need to be concerned with poisoning our environment, finding new places to dump the trash, and wasting valuable resources.” – Lori Dennis from the book Green Interior Design
Improving indoor air-quality
How have I tried to improve the indoor air-quality in my home? I have 2 small HEPA-filter air purifiers in the bedrooms, and one tower air purifier in the main room. We limit the amount of plastic products brought in to the home. We never wear shoes inside, and dust and sweep often. We leave windows/balcony door open to keep air circulating. We also use just vinegar for most cleaning jobs, and do not pollute the air with air fresheners or petroleum-based candles.
Indoor plants can do much to improve indoor air-quality. This is a great list to use to. For us, the challenge is to find plants that won’t die due to lack of sunshine!
“Plants are known to clean the air, replenish it with oxygen helping to reduce negative physical symptoms, and even make people more calm. Plants are literally the greenest way of improving indoor air quality.”
– Lori Dennis from the book Green Interior Design
This term is used to describe a way a polluted interior can make you feel. I know the symptoms, because I am particularly sensitive. . .
-loss of concentration
Organic or natural-based cleaners are typically made of plant-based materials. On the other hand, synthetic cleaners are petroleum-based . . . these products are toxic.
You may or may not be aware of the danger of using antimicrobial soaps – they kill the good bacteria and help the bad bacteria develop stronger immunity.
If you’re uncertain which products are good ones to use, look for labelling such as fragrance-free, biodegradable, phosphate-free etc. I will be reviewing some green cleaning products in the next few months, to give you some suggestions!