Ensuring A Constant Breath of Fresh Air
Air in your house can teem with chemicals, gasses, and biological pollutants and create health problems. But you don't need a chemistry degree to improve your home's indoor air quality (IAQ). Keeping pollutants out of your house is key.
Lead is toxic to people of all ages, but particularly to children - and lead poisoning is not a problem of the past. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that houses built before 1978, the year lead-based paint for home use was banned, likely still contain risks.
Lead is also found in painted toys and furniture, pottery, and plumbing fixtures.
- CDC's Facts on Lead, cdc.gov/nceh/lead/
- EPA's Lead Poisoning Home Checklist, http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/docume...
- How to Remove and Contain Lead Paint, http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20468430...
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCs)
Home products, such as paint, solvent, and varnish all contain harmful chemicals that can evaporate into your house and diminish IAQ. So can other household items, including carpet and adhesives, moth balls, composite wood products, and air cleaners.
Consider alternatives http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html to chemical-laden products whenever possible. Also follow safety instructions ventilate your house when using products, and store and dispose of chemical safely.
Breathing air containing radon, an odorless invisible radioactive gas that occurs naturally, raises your risk of lung cancer. Find out if you live in a radon risk area - www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html
Use a test kit to see if radon is present in your house - http://iaq.supportportal.com/link/portal/23002/23
If it is, hire a qualified professional to eliminate radon.
Biological pollutants - http://www.nchh.org/Portals/0/Contents/CPSC_Biolo... - such as dust mites, pet dander, pest droppings, and mold, all can exacerbate asthma, allergies, and other respiratory ailments.
Wash bedding in hot water, opt for bare floors, and dust surfaces with damp cloths. To combat mold, fix any leaks and prevent water seepage, you can also use exhaust fans to evacuate kitchen and bathroom moisture.
Household disinfectants, air fresheners, and furniture polish often contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Soaps and laundry detergents can be loaded with chemical irritants. In addition, chemicals in household cleaning products have been linked with endocrine disruption and asthma, http://www.silentspring.org/our-research.
Concoct your own non-toxic cleaning products, with inexpensive baking soda, http://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/stories/the-n..., vinegar, and lemon.
REALTORS® who have earned the National Association of REALTORS® Green Designation (https://green.realtor/work-green-designee/find-member) can refer you to local experts who can assess your home's performance.