Indoor toxins can destroy your health

February 23, 2012

Asthma, Health, Home and Garden

According to a study by the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we breathe anywhere between 10,000 and 70,000 liters of air every 24 hours

According to a study by the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we breathe anywhere between 10,000 and 70,000 liters of air every 24 hours. And since we cannot live without it, the quality of our air is extremely important — even tiny levels of airborne toxins can pose significant health concerns. Yet, air quality is often overlooked, even by many who pay a great deal of attention to the purity of their food and water.

The U.S. EPA has stated that levels of about one dozen common chemical pollutants are two to five times higher inside homes than outside of them. Scientists are beginning to suspect that indoor pollutants may be partly responsible for rising rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Indoor pollution has also been known to cause headaches, flu-like symptoms and even neurological problems.

Steps to minimize your exposure

Wait a few days before picking up your dry cleaning or leave it in the garage. Freshly dry-cleaned clothes emit chemicals that have been linked to cancer and neurological problems.

Go fragrance-free. Some scented air fresheners and perfumes release compounds that can cause headaches and eye, nose and throat irritation.

Make sure your fireplace flue is working properly. This keeps the lung-irritating particles from wood smoke out of your indoor air.  Kick off your shoes at the door. Shoes bring in a fine layer of chemicals, dirt, bacteria and mold that is stirred up when we walk.

Ventilate the house. We keep windows closed for months on end, light cozy fires and braise our favorite cold-weather meals in the oven. Gas stoves release trace amounts of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide into the air. Just as with other chemicals, exposure is cumulative.

How to reduce exposure to chemicals

  • Turn on your stove’s exhaust fan to eliminate smoke and other chemicals released during cooking.
  • If you have an attached garage, open the garage door before starting your car — carbon monoxide from your exhaust pipe can get into the main house.
  • Do not spray cleansers directly on the surface you are scrubbing — this produces a fine mist that you are likely to inhale. Instead, spray or pour the cleaner onto a rag or paper towel first, or use pre-moistened wet wipes.
  • Vacuum often (ideally twice a week), as this will get rid of excess dust, lead, mold and pet dander.  Do not dust or mop with dry cloths or dusters — use a damp cloth so the particles are not swept up into the air, where you will breathe them in as you clean.

 

Sources: MSN Health 2011 and www.mercola.com August 30, 2011.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2011.

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