One of the most powerful things you can do for your health and the health of your family is to create a healthy home.
We spend on average 90% of our time indoors and our indoor air quality can be up to 5 times more polluted than outside. The US Environmental Protection Authority has rated indoor air in the top four environmental health risks facing the planet. In Australia however we currently have no regulations or controls around indoor air quality in the home. Polluted indoor air can contribute to allergies, asthma, other respiratory problems and many other health issues. These are some small changes that can make a big difference to your indoor air quality, and therefore your health.
- Take your shoes off
It’s so simple, and incredibly effective. Not wearing shoes inside can reduce dust (including the toxic kind) by more than 50%, and there have actually been studies done to show this. Dust in the home can lead to many health problems including allergies, asthma, sinusitis etc. The other amazing benefit of doing this is less cleaning.
- Make cleaning easier
For the dust that does make it inside the most effective way of dusting is using damp microfiber cloths and mops. Never dry dust as this simply redistributes the dust into the air. There’s no need to use any other cleaning products, as the weave technology in these cloths is the most effective way to pick up dust & dirt (for more information on how this technology works http://www.explainthatstuff.com/microfibercloths.html). Again, this will dramatically cut down your cleaning time, and save you money on cleaning products.
- Ditch the chemicals
In Australia cleaning products aren’t required to list their ingredients and personal care products can be fairly vague about theirs. Many of these products have chemicals that can affect our hormones, cause skin irritations, respiratory problems amongst many other things. This can be overwhelming, so I suggest starting with a product you use every day such as soap, sunscreen or toothpaste. Research each products ingredients until you’ve found the best alternative for you, before moving on to your next product. There’s piles of information online to help you research, including from The Environmental Working Group who have developed a number of databases on cleaning products, cosmetics, sunscreens etc. http://www.ewg.org/consumer-guides. There are also lots of recipes to make many of these products at home.
- Bring Plants Inside
Plants are able to purify air through their process of photosynthesis, and are actually able to absorb many indoor air contaminants. Some of the plants that are effective at reducing levels of certain contaminants include Peace Lily’s, Boston Fern, Florists Mum, Bamboo Palm, Gerbera daisy amongst others.
- Open up
Keeping windows and doors open as much as possible is the most natural form of ventilation or flow of air, which also requires no energy consumption. There are exceptions to doing this such as windy days if you have anyone with allergies or asthma in the home.
Implementing a nutritious wholefoods diet, and getting outdoors into the cleaner air more often, are other things you can do to further improve your health.
Whilst these are just some small things that everyone can do to improve their health, a qualified Building Biologist will identify any specific health hazards in your home, as well as causes for any specific health issues.