Today, we’re all very much aware of how air pollution affects our health. We’re constantly seeing non-stop innovations to becoming greener, as well as the media being populated with pollution and emission related headlines, indicating they’re affecting the planet as well as our health.
What’s stranger than that, there are many of use who believe it’s an ‘outdoor problem’ and don’t acknowledge the air we’re breathing in our homes. The only difference it is to outdoor air, it’s trapped within the four walls of our homes and what’s alarming, is it’s susceptible for all kinds of indoor pollutants.
Statistically, we spend around 90% of our time indoors, which makes it vital that the air we breathe in is clean. With that, we’ve teamed up with HVAC supplier Daikin, to explore the risks of toxin building up and how it reduces the air quality within your home, and what we can do to make the air purer.
What is Toxic House Syndrome?
Toxic House Syndrome, (also known as Sick Building Syndrome), is a condition which the NHS outlines being caused by multiple factors. Dust, smoke, bad ventilation, and inadequately maintained air conditioning units are all cited as potentially contributing towards the problem.
The World Health Organization (WHO) outlined the following risk of extremely poor indoor air quality.
- Ischaemic heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Lung cancer
It’s apparent that the impact of toxic household air is more common in poor and low-income countries, those that commonly use solid fuels like wood, waste and charcoal. Countries that are more developed are still adding to their indoor pollutants though.
What are the causes of poor indoor air quality?
Let’s look at the root causes of pollutants in your home or workplace.
The British Lung Foundation published an article the stated that cooking, smoking, pets, damp, ventilation, temperature, pollution outside and cleaning products all build up within our homes. It’s worth opening the windows of your home for at least a little time every day, especially when you’re cooking. Check your home for damp too — this can cause myriad health problems, so you’ll want to treat it as soon as possible if found.
Scented candles are enjoyed by many of us, but sadly our lungs aren’t relaxing when you light a perfumed candle. The chemicals used to perfume candles for their scent can contain harmful substances like benzene and toluene. The same goes for air fresheners, regardless of if they are spray or plug-in. The fresh scent is achieved by chemicals, which you let into your home when you use them, so if you’re looking to freshen up, best stick to opening the windows and cleaning the home with natural products.
Indeed, spray-bottle cleaners can cause the chemical cleaning product to partly disperse into the air. It’s better to opt for liquid cleaners that you can pour as much as you need. Consider other sprays too (deodorant, hair spray, etc) and only use them in well-ventilated areas.
How to make the air purer
Now we know the causes, lets address what can be done to improve the quality of the air you breathe.
Of course, ditching the store-bough air fresheners and all the toxins they bring with them is a good start. But you still need a way to freshen up your home without having the windows open all the time, right? Luckily, there are loads of natural air fresheners you can make, and they’re very easy to create. The Natural Penguin offers loads of great ideas — we’re particularly fond of the oil-scented wood blocks, they’re simple and would look boho-chic in a glass bowl mixed with some dried flowers or glass pebbles.
Scattering plants around the house is another way to clean up the air we breath in. NASA has even conducted a study of the best air-purifying plants out there; try some aloe vera in the bedroom, or a spider plant in the kitchen! Ask your employer if it’s possible to bring some greenery into the office too.
For dealing with outdoor pollutants and to ensure the air your breath is pure, you could consider investing in an air purification system. These powerful systems actively filter the air you breathe, capturing any harmful particles or pollutants and keeping the air as fresh as possible. Air purifiers can help lower allergy and asthma symptoms, as well as reduce the number of bacteria in the air you breathe. They’re also a great way to neutralise odours without resorting to harmful air fresheners.
With it being second nature, we often neglect to think about the air we breathe. But it’s not something you can avoid! Take a look around your indoor spaces and ask yourself — what exactly am I breathing in every day?