To keep air clean, make sure you have plenty of circulating air from outside. This is especially important in newer homes that have tight closing windows. However, this can be a challenge in the winter months and for those with airborne allergies. Air filters are an option we will describe further, but eliminating the toxins as much as possible is the best way to reduce exposure.
As we mentioned, the EPA has found that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outside air! This is because there are so many building materials in homes that off-gas toxic glues, plastics, organochlorines, and other chemicals.
Here are some household items that contain toxins that affect your air quality:
Fortunately, you can purchase non-toxic versions of all of these materials and products. You may not find these in your "regular" store. Many readily available products (cheap to produce) contain these chemicals. However, with some research and/or online shopping you can find what you need. You can find some of these resources (HL community_resources) here.
- Carpets and rugs off-gassing glues
- Plywood off-gassing glues
- Mattresses, which contain and release antimony as a flame retardant
- Paints off-gassing VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
- Floor sealants which can contain various toxic vapors
- Vinyl shower curtains
If you are really sensitive or have off-gassing toxins you are unable to remove, buy an air filter. The Green Guide has good comparisons on air purifiers and can really improve the health of those sensitive to these substances. Some people are severely incapacitated by these chemicals and an air filter can help immensely.