We are all conscious of the fact that air pollution can affect our health. From seeking greener alternatives, to trying to use the car less, we’re bombarded with warnings about how pollution and carbon dioxide emissions are changing the planet we live on and bringing with it a host of health problems.
With this being said, it’s weird to think that we consider air pollution as just an ‘outside problem’. But what about the air inside our homes? After all, it’s the same air, just trapped within our four walls. And, trapped as it is, it is susceptible to all kinds of indoor pollutants.
It’s vital that the inside air we breathe is clean since we spend around 90% of our time indoors. Together, alongside Daikin – provider of domestic heat pumps, we explore the risks of toxins building up and reducing the air quality within your home, and what can be done to make the air purer.
What is Toxic House Syndrome?
The NHS outlines some of the possible causes that can lead to symptoms of Toxic House Syndrome- also referred to as Sick Building Syndrome. Dust, smoke, bad ventilation, and inadequately maintained air conditioning units are all cited as potentially contributing towards the problem.
The following risks of extremely poor indoor air quality have been outlined by The World Health Organization outlined:
- Ischaemic heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Lung cancer
Having toxic-household air is usually more common in low-income countries that still use the likes of wood, charcoal and other solid fuels for power. However, developed countries are still contributing to their indoor pollutants.
Poor indoor air quality – the causes
Let’s explore what the main causes of poor air quality is in your home and workspaces are.
According to an article written by the British Lung Foundation, it outlined the fact that cleaning products, pets, cooking, smoking, temperature, dampness, ventilation and outdoor pollution all contribute to poor air quality. 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.
Although perfumed candles appear to be relaxing for us, our lungs don’t feel the same. 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.
Having cleaning products with spray-top bottles can cause the chemicals in the products 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.
Purifying your air
After gaining the knowledge we have regarding the causes of bad air quality, lets explore ways in which we can amend this problem.
As we’ve previously discussed, getting rid of all those store-bought air fresheners and the toxins they bring with them would be a step closer to cleaner air. 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 your home is another way to help clean the air. 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.
Despite using all the above techniques and tricks to reduce pollution in your home and office, there is till the chance that outdoor pollution can take its toll. Therefore, investing in an air purification system could be a wise move. 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.
Breathing is of second nature to us, therefore it’s easy to forget what we are actually inhaling. 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?