Why your home might be making you sick!
(Indoor Air Quality)
This is the second post in our 7-part series about your Health as it relates to your Home's Health. In our first post we shared our Vision for a Healthy Home, detailing the 6 elements which make up a Healthy Home.
In this post... we're focusing on Indoor Air Quality and why it is so important to understand.
Did you know that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that our indoor air quality is up to 100 times more polluted than the air we breathe outside?
Shocking, isn’t it?! It is until you learn why this is the case.
In the next few minutes you’ll learn why your indoor air is bad, and even more importantly, what that’s costing you in terms of compromised health.
The average home accumulates about 40 pounds of dust each year.
A University of Arizona study found that 60% of this dust is typically a combination of particles of shed human skin, animal fur and dander, food particles, furniture and clothing fibers, tiny dead insects, dirt and particulates from cooking, heating and smoking. Add to that what gets tracked in on the soles of our shoes (dirt, garbage, pet waste, bacteria, pesticides, fertilizers and heavy metals) and our home might not be as clean and healthy as we think…despite our great cleaning habits.
And as it turns out, our cleaning habits are part of the problem. Americans are great consumers, and, our homes are where we store most of what we buy. Hazardous materials accumulate in our home in the form of cleaning products, aerosol personal care products, home repair products, and laundry cleaners and softeners, just to name a few.
Whether you clean your home yourself or hire a cleaner, over the years, cleaning products permeate most surfaces in your home. Since cleaning products are not regulated the same way as our food, it’s shocking to learn how many toxic and carcinogenic compounds innocently creep into our home jeopardizing the health of our families and our homes. If you wouldn’t let your child play with these types of cleaners (see warning labels), then is it good for the rest of your family to be ingesting them through our lungs and skin?
In addition, many everyday services we are accustomed to also pollute our homes: freshly dry-cleaned clothes off-gasses for 48 hours – maybe right in your bedroom closet, upholstery and carpet cleaning solutions can be toxic, and of course even simple interior remodeling or construction can create airborne hazards like asbestos and lead paint – known to be carcinogenic and lead to brain damage.
Lastly, maintenance of furnaces, air conditioners and the ductwork throughout your home is easy to ignore until a repair is needed. But, remember that 40 pounds of dust an average home accumulates each year? Once that gets sucked into air ducts, that dust continues to circulate throughout your home.
What’s unhealthy air costing you and your family….
As a result of not maintaining a healthy home, you and your family may be experiencing one or more of these common afflictions: chronic fatigue, difficulty focusing or concentrating, sinus infections, a compromised immune system, flu-like symptoms, coughing, sneezing, congestion, headaches, throat irritation, eye irritation, allergies, respiratory illness, or poor sleep.
One case study where air quality improved and so did health…
In Seattle’s award-winning High Point neighborhood a case study on 34 low-income families measured the impact on their asthma condition before and after moving into “Breath Easy Homes” (free of allergy triggers: dust, pollen, pet hair, pest droppings and mold). Though a relatively small study - asthma conditions improved dramatically once these families moved into these healthy homes. As doctor visits and health care costs decreased – the families’ quality of life increased.
Unfortunately, even in affluent homes with regular maintenance and cleaning, airborne allergens, toxins and carcinogens are still part of the norm. Think about it….how much cleaning product does your home consume each year? Where does it all go?
What you can do about it? 4 Super Easy Fixes…
1.)Leave your shoes outside (see blog post http://selectseattlehomes.com/3-reasons-to-leave-your-shoes-at-the-door/)
2.) Use a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter for both your vacuum and for your home’s air circulation systems (heating, air-conditioning, HVAC) to take allergens out of circulation.
3.) Change over to green cleaning products, one step at a time.
4.) Discard all old unwanted cleaning/maintenance products, paints, solvents, aerosol personal care products. Here's your resource for King County.
Apply some of these tips and start making your home a healthier home today.
Please share this post with other friends or family who also care about their homes and their health.