Indoor Toxins: What They Are and How to Avoid Them
We trust modern technology to keep us safe and healthy throughout our lives, but did you know that many different technologies we trust our indoor health to can be dangerous as well? Many indoor pollutants are toxic to our health, and there are often no warning signs to show that they exist until years afterward.
We all put our health at risk at some point, whether it's where we work or our method of travel, and we do these things to better our quality of life or pursue specific goals. No matter the reason, one thing is for sure: there are always going to be air pollutants and health risks in many different areas of life. It is unavoidable, and often times we can't do anything about it. Fortunately, when it comes to our home, we can do something about that, and it all begins with an informed choice.
Types of Indoor Air Toxins
There are several different air pollutants and toxins that circulate in the air around us, and recent studies have shown that most people spend up to 87% of their time indoors.
That's an incredible amount of time, which means that the average American is exposed to these toxins for a vast majority of their lives and they never even know it. Of course, the type of indoor air toxin that may be circulating around in your home's air depends on the time it was built and materials commonly used for drywall, insulation and the quality of maintenance that has been done on your home since. These are a few of the most common air pollutants:
If your home was built around or before the 1970s, there's a good chance that your insulation, vinyl, roofing or tiling contains asbestos. This was a popular choice of material for years because it is flexible and insulates heat incredibly well.
The United States began phasing this out of their building materials once health risks became apparent, but homes that were built with the material may still contain it. It's a good idea to look into asbestos abatement or removal services to help prevent further health risks.
- Dust Mites
Dust mites are one of the main causes of asthma and indoor allergies. These mites, along with many other insects, seek shelter in your carpets away from any extreme weather. The cracks of tile or fibers of carpet provide an excellent breeding ground for these critters. To get rid of mites, it's recommended to treat your floors with a mite-repellent. Often times, residential carpet cleaners will offer a dust mite, bed bug and other insect cleaning service to help rid you home of these insects.
Mold is tricky and nearly invisible due to the fact that it usually grows from inside the walls before you ever see it on the outer layer.
This is one of the more serious pollutants in a home, as mold can cause asthma as well as histoplasmosis, which is a disease that many people get by breathing in the airborne spores.
Histoplasmosis can include symptoms such as unexplained coughing, chills, chest pains, fever and fatigue and even body aches. In the more severe cases of home mold growth, you may be breathing in toxic spores that can damage your liver over time.
5 Tips To Avoid Air Pollutants
- 1. Vacuum Regularly
Although it seems like a no-brainer, the average person may only vacuum their carpets once or twice a month. Your carpets should be vacuumed at least once a week to prevent dust mites and other insects or spores from becoming airborne, keeping them at bay. If you are not seeing significant results after vacuuming more often, it may be time to replace your vacuum for one with stronger suction and a bagless option. Some vacuums on the market today even offer air purification benefits.
- 2. Utilize Residential Carpet Cleaning Services
On top of regular vacuuming, having your carpets cleaned by a residential carpet cleaner is likely to reduce the risk of ticks, mites, bed bugs and other insects as well as molds, mildew, and fungus. Carpet cleaners often have shop vacs and specialized cleaning formulas to get the tough stains out the first time around. Carpet cleaners can also pull pet stains and hard-to-get gunk from your carpets that a regular vacuum would never be able to reach. It's important to have this done every few months at least. Regular cleanings are essential to a mold-free and insect-free home.
- 3. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
A vast majority of inorganic pollutants indoors are created by toxic household chemicals. By using eco-friendly cleaning products, you're not only helping the earth by recycling and using biodegradable products with solutions that won't hurt wildlife, but you're also helping your home. Your home is where memories happen, so why would you give it less than the best care? Eco-friendly cleaning products help you do your part for creating a cleaner home and a cleaner environment, all with one choice.
- 4. Purchase an Air Purifier
It's a great idea to purchase a certified air purifier that is guaranteed to take out moisture, spores, and other indoor pollutants. There are inexpensive purifiers on the market, but these commonly break with heavy use, so it will be worthwhile to invest in a more expensive option. It's great to choose a product that has third-party evaluations and certification so you aren't simply relying on the promises of the company who manufactured the product.