Indoor air can be five times worse in quality than outdoor air. Still many of us spend almost 90% of our time indoors. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that poor indoor air can cause or heighten asthma, allergies (and other respiratory problems), headaches, irritations to the eyes and skin, colds and flues, sore throats and even memory loss, dizziness, fatigue and depression. If there is extended exposure to toxic airborne particles the effects can include heart disease, respiratory disease, reproductive disorders, sterility and even cancer.
Here are a few of the tips from the American Lung Association that will help keep the air in your home clean and healthy for you and your family (From The Daily Green):
No Smoking Indoors
The surgeon general reports that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke. Children can develop respiratory tract infections from secondhand smoke and older adults or people that suffer lung and cardiovascular diseases have a greater chance of developing respiratory problems due to secondhand smoke. Make it a rule that there is no smoking in the house-even for guests. Ask them to take it outside for the safety of your family.
Clean your Air Conditioner and Dehumidifier Regularly
Dust mites, mold, and mildew all thrive off of standing water and humidity. These can increase asthma problems. Use a humidifier and the air condition and be certain to clean both of them regularly.
Choose Low-Voc Paints, Varnishes and Waxes
Paints actually release volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) for months after being applied. They can include such highly toxic chemicals as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Look for Low Voc paints, varnishes and waxes when you plan your makeovers and remodels.
Install and Upkeep Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Over 400 people die from Carbon Monoxide every year while thousands of others become ill and require medical attention due to their exposure to it. Carbon Monoxide is odorless and colorless and the gas levels can rise very quickly in unventilated areas. All fuel burning appliances should be inspected by a qualified technician annually. Install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping quarters and test them regularly to assure they are working properly.
Radon Test Your Home
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer for both smokers and non-smokers alike. Radon is a colorless gas that occurs naturally in rocks and soil. Testing for Radon gas is inexpensive and easy. The rewards of making sure you don’t have Radon gas in your home, or getting rid of Radon gas if you do, is well worth the test.
Always Look for Leaks and Repair Them
Humidity and rain can create moisture inside and spawn mold and mildew. These are strong contributors to unhealthy indoor air. Dampness alone is connected with elevated risks of wheezing, coughing, and asthma symptoms. Be proactive and check your roof, basement, crawlspaces and foundation for possible leaks or moisture problems before they can cause dampness in your home. Be certain to direct water away from your home’s foundation.