What is it you first think about when spring arrives?
- Putting away winter clothes: Check
- Change batteries in smoke detectors: Check
- Shampoo rugs: Check
- Organize closets: Check
- Dusting off those cleaning supplies and giving the house a thorough scrubbing: Check
All this is a great way to bring in the new season, but one thing you're missing is checking & cleansing the quality of your indoor air. Did you know that despite the thorough scrubbing you often give your home in honor of spring cleaning, the quality of the air we breathe indoors can be 5 to 10 times more polluted than the outdoors. Not only do we allow outdoor pollutants to come into our homes every time we open a door or window, but many of the household products we use on a day to day basis inside our homes could be affecting the overall quality of the air we breathe.
"The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that of chemicals commonly found in homes, 150 have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities."
So what can you do to protect the quality of the air you and your children breathe? Here are a few spring cleaning tips on how to minimize the pollutants & toxic chemicals in your home.
1. Avoid conventional household cleaners
Conventional household cleaners contain chemicals that can be more dangerous than the germs themselves. Every time your children roll around on the carpet or your pets lick crumbs off the floor, they are being exposed to noxious chemicals. Don’t make the assumption that if it’s on the grocery shelf it’s been tested and is safe. Most of us, unwittingly, buy products for our home with ingredients that are either poorly studied, not studied at all, or are known to pose potentially serious health risks. Of the roughly 17,000 chemicals found in common household products, only 3 in 10 have been tested for their effects on human health. Why? Because, just like with cosmetics, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not require manufacturers to test household cleaning products before they appear on store shelves.
And, if you’re reading labels expecting to get the whole picture, know that they provide only limited information. Labels often omit inert ingredients that can make up as much as 90 percent of a product's volume. Now, the word “inert” doesn’t mean inactive or neutral as you might believe. The EPA categorized “inert” ingredients as causing long-term health damage and harm to the environment. These ingredients include solvents, dispersal agents, dyes and fragrances, some of which can pollute the air and water. Other ingredients that are not mentioned can be carcinogens or worsen health problems like allergies and asthma.
2. Avoid artificially scented air fresheners
Artificially scented air fresheners include aerosols and plug-ins, because they are made with synthetic fragrances that contain phthalates. These are chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) found that 12 out of 14 popular air freshener brands contained phthalates.
Plus, aerosol sprays contain flammable and nerve-damaging ingredients such as hexane and xylene, and produce mist particles that can contain a high proportion of organic solvents that when inhaled enter your bloodstream and have negative health effects.
3. Avoid synthetic fragrances in your personal care products
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there are potentially hundreds of chemicals in a single product's secret fragrance mixture. Fragrances can contain neurotoxins and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. A recent Mayo Clinic study placed fragrances in the 10 most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis, and the Institute of Medicine (a division of the National Academy of Sciences) placed fragrance in the same category as second hand smoke in triggering asthma in adults and school age children.
When you see the word “fragrance” in an ingredient list, you can assume it’s 100 percent synthetic—and not a blend of natural flower extracts. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reports that “95 percent of the ingredients used to create fragrances today are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, including benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxins and sensitizers.” What’s more, “unscented” does not mean a product contains no fragrance. Ingredients used to mask unpleasant odors, usually chemicals, do not have to be identified on the labels.
Children are not immune. Every day they are exposed to an average of 27 personal care product ingredients that have not been found safe for kids, according to a national survey conducted by the EWG. A whopping 77 percent of the ingredients in 1,700 children's products reviewed have not been assessed for safety! Cut down on your use of powders, especially baby powder on infants. The FDA warns that powders may cause lung damage if inhaled regularly.
4. Invest in a multi-stage air filtration unit to keep air clean all year round
Many air filters on the market only address one thing. They either assist with pollen and dust, gasses and odors, or bacteria and mold. Very few actually address all three. If you suffer from allergies or respiratory illnesses, you know many of your symptoms are a result of a combination of all these contaminants. Make sure to invest in an air purification system that can address all three contaminate groups. And most importantly, make sure to change the cartridge every year as part of your spring cleaning routine.
Click here to read full article from Veria Living
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