Is Your Indoor Air Quality Affecting Your Health?
If you have a chronic illness, thyroid disorder, or cancer, it could be linked to poor indoor air quality. The good news is that it’s one area of life that we have control over. Our choices can impact our air quality and, therefore, our health.
In this article, we’ll look at what contributes to indoor air quality and 10 ways to significantly improve it.
What Affects Indoor Air Quality?
Things that affect indoor air quality (IAQ) include:
- Particulate Matter
Have you ever looked at the sun rays pouring in through the window and see a bunch of stuff floating in the air? That’s particulate matter. Every time I see it, I feel like I didn’t dust well (but I had).
Particulate matter is the dust, mold, and other bits of things you see, and some bits that you don’t see because they’re too small for the naked eye.
Excess moisture can create mold. When your house can’t dry out enough to prevent mold growth, it affects your indoor air quality.
- Chemicals from Everyday Products
Many items that we buy are made of chemicals that are either off-gassing into our homes or are toxic when indoors. Here are a few examples of the products I’m talking about.
While these factors for IAQ are all important, nearly 50% of your indoor air quality is affected by toxins in everyday products, according to a 2018 study by NOAA.
Therefore, it’s an area we want to completely clean up so that we have good indoor air and better health.
10 Ways to Completely Change Your Indoor Air Quality:
There are three ways to change your indoor air quality, the most impactful is to eliminate the sources of toxins. This means choosing to buy healthy items so that you don’t bring toxins into your home.
Here are a few ways you can find healthier products and have a significant impact on your indoor air quality.
Solid, hardwood furniture made with non-toxic glues and non-toxic finishes are all important elements in healthy furniture. If it doesn’t meet these criteria, then it’s not healthy.
Your bedroom should be a priority when ‘cleaning up’ your indoor air quality. Sleep, which can be greatly disrupted by poor IAQ, is important for our overall health. Look for bedding that’s GOTS Organic certified (preferable) or OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. Not just any old 100% organic sheets will do here.
GOTS also certifies mattresses as organic. I love keeping it simple, by looking for the same certification (as bedding) from a super credible non-profit, 3rd party agency.
Once again, GOTS Organic certified clothing is the simplest way. Since they have the strictest certification in the world and growing by 35%+ per year. It’s a great way to find non-toxic clothing that’s not polluting your indoor air.
This category is a biggie. Plastics are everywhere, in our clothes, wood, living room furniture, and on and on. Buying recycled plastics or BPA free is not enough to improve your indoor air quality. Look for ceramic, glass, solid hardwood (that’s from a FSC certified forest for eco-friendly-ness), and natural resources such as 100% organic cotton or wool.
One hundred percent ceramic and 100% solid hardwood flooring that’s installed with nails and finished with a non-toxic finish are two of the healthiest types of flooring.
Water-based paints still contribute to poor indoor air quality. Therefore, you’ll want to look for paints that are zero-VOC and do not contain hazardous air pollutants.
Additionally, a good air filtration unit or fresh air can remove toxins that you’re unable to control. For example, if there are no chemical-free items in your home (e.g., you’re cooking with a gas stove, or you bought the healthiest paint you could find but it still off-gasses until fully cured).
The challenge with fresh air is that you’ll want to be sure the air coming in is healthy as well.
Air Filtration Unit
A good free-standing air filtration unit will remove both particulates and chemicals from the air. Look for a unit that has a dust filter + a coconut shell charcoal filter.
Air Filtration Bags
Gaining in popularity, air filtration bags filled with 100% natural coconut shell charcoal are effective in removing chemicals and mold from the air. They’re affordable and renewable. Once they’re filled with chemicals (or seem ineffective), you put them in the sun for a bit to refresh the bag, then reuse.
Be sure the air coming in is truly fresh, not smoke- or pesticide-filled air.
Your Next Steps
Which of these 10 feel the easiest to do? Do that one. Right now. Because our health can’t wait. Our indoor air quality needs to be improved so that we can start to feel better all of the time.
Want help transforming your house into a healthy home? Visit our website to learn more about our healthy home assessment and healthy home coaching.
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Angela Cummings is a writer, organic lifestyle coach, and presenter with a passion for helping people live their best organic chemical-free lifestyle. Since 2014, Angela has been a professional freelance writer and consultant for individuals and companies internationally.