You’re home at last, after a long day at work. Time to breathe deeply and relax, right? Not quite – according to the EPA, indoor air is 3-5 times as polluted as outdoor air, so while you’re breathing deeply, you’re breathing in toxins and fumes that are worse than the traffic jam you were just sitting in.
Indoor air pollution has been linked to asthma, allergies, and other health problems. You’re probably thinking—I don’t smoke, I tested my place for radon and lead, and have a carbon monoxide detector, so what is she talking about? Ah! That is just the beginning — there are a lot of other pollutants that linger around the household that you should be aware of.
The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to breathe easier at home:
- Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Open windows to let fresh air in, and install exhaust fans in the bathrooms to take moisture and chemicals out
- Use non-toxic, natural household cleaners: Any product with a warning more serious than ‘caution’ should be disposed of—read the label carefully because you may need to dispose of it at a hazardous waste site!
- Limit exposure to external pollution sources: This includes pesticides on the lawn, and dirt that can be carried into the house with your shoes
- Separate: Store potentially toxic materials, such as paints and cleaners, outside the house
- Filter your air: Consider using a HEPA air filter for the most lived-in areas and/or bedroom(s); use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove dust, pollen, and other irritants
Now you can sit back and relax!