BigFansForSale.com wants you to be aware about building safety and how to improve indoor air quality.
1. Keep your floors fresh.
Chemicals and allergens can accumulate in household dust for decades. By using a vacuum with a HEPA filter you can reduce concentrations of lead in your home. You can also get rid of other toxins, like brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs) as well as allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.
Using a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes, and a HEPA filter (High-efficiency particulate absorption)
Vacuum the walls, carpet edges, and upholstered furniture, where dust accumulates.
For best results, vacuum two or more times each week and wash out your filter regularly.
Mopping picks up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind.
Skip the soaps and cleaners and just use plain water to capture any lingering dust or allergens.
Put a large floor mat at every door. People track in all sorts of chemicals via the dirt on their shoes. To best protect your family, ask people to remove their shoes when entering your home.
2. Keep a healthy level of humidity.
Dust mites and mold love moisture. Keeping humidity around 30%-50% helps keep them and other allergens under control. A dehumidifier (and air conditioner during summer months) helps reduce moisture in indoor air and effectively controls allergens.
More tips for dehumidifying your home:
• Use an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing.
• Don’t overwater houseplants.
• Vent the clothes dryer to the outside.
• Fix leaky plumbing to prevent moisture-loving mold.
• Empty drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier.
3. Make your home a no-smoking zone.
Probably the single most important aspect of indoor air pollution is secondhand cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals.
4. Test for radon.
Whether you have a new or old home, you could have a radon problem. This colorless, odorless gas significantly raises the risk of lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. today.
Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground and into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Drafty homes, airtight homes, homes with or without a basement — any home can potentially have a radon problem.
Granite countertops have also been linked to radon. While experts agree that most granite countertops emit some radon, the question is whether they do so at levels that can cause cancer. Testing is easy, inexpensive, and takes only a few minutes. If you discover a radon problem, there are simple ways to reduce levels of the gas that are not too costly.
5. Smell good naturally.
You may associate that lemony or piney scent with a clean kitchen or clean clothes. But synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air. You won’t find their names on the product labels. Conventional laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and air fresheners in solid, spray, and oil form may all emit such gasses.
In one study, a plug-in air freshener was found to emit 20 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven regulated as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws. But these chemicals were not included on the label — only the word “fragrance” is required to be listed. But the actual composition of the fragrance is considered a “trade secret.”
Most fragrances are derived from petroleum products, and generally haven’t been tested to see if they have any significant adverse health effects in humans when they are inhaled. (Tests usually focus on whether a fragrance causes skin irritation.) Some that have been tested raise concern. Phthalates are a group of chemicals often used in fragrances and also used to soften plastics. Studies show that phthalates disrupt hormones in animals.
• Look for fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products.
• Switch to mild cleaners that don’t include artificial fragrances.
• Stop using aerosol sprays — deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, furniture polish, and air fresheners.
• Let in fresh air. Open windows so toxic chemicals don’t build up in your home.
• Use sliced lemons and baking soda to get a clean scent in the kitchen.
• Bring nature indoors. Any room is prettier with a fern, spider plant, or aloe vera. It’s also healthier. NASA research shows that indoor plants like these act as living air purifiers — the foliage and roots work in tandem to absorb chemical pollutants released by synthetic materials.
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