How Healthy is Your Home?
We all want to be on the journey to healthier living; we think and talk about our diets, organic eating, spending more time outdoors, exercise and fitness etc… but what about the health of your home?
We have an intimate relationship with our environment, but how many of us think of the air quality in the environment of our own home the place where we spend most of our hours? Our home is not an inanimate structure; it’s an active enclosed eco-system. The health of your home is an integral component of your health and the wellness of your family.
We are all familiar with term “silent but deadly”, but have you ever thought about what that really means? The average home contains 500 – 1000 chemicals in which we are unable to smell, feel, see, or taste therefore we are often left unaware of the negative effects this has on our bodies.
Working on this article lead me to a conclusion, (not mine alone but that of many experts): Our home’s indoor air quality is typically 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. That really got my attention! So that is why they say “ignorance is bliss”. It’s not very blissful when you are sneezing every day, have itchy dry eyes, irritated nose and throat, or that headache that just won’t go away , or nasal congestion, and the list goes on. I saw a TV commercial last night where a woman goes to the doctor and confesses she uses eye drops every day and the doctor says that she has “dry eye syndrome” and gives her a prescription. Oh yea that explains it, she felt much better! Agh!
Long-term and repeated exposure to pollutants can and will affect our overall health. Hence it’s an understatement to say “it would be prudent to improve the quality of the air quality in our homes.”
Start with two categories: Source and Ventilation
Sources can range in a variety of way. A short list can include home cleaning products, personal care products, dust, mold, wall paint, building materials, upholstery, furniture, carpet and the bits and pieces we track in on our shoes from outside.
Ventilation provides the necessary fresh air for us to breathe, dilutes indoor air pollutants and excess moisture. Complaints of stuffiness, unpleasant odors, and illness are common in houses that contain too little fresh air.
This all can seem a bit overwhelming, it is to me. But like the saying goes; “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
Mike (my husband), and I started by getting an environmental home inspection, it was expensive but awfully enlightening and educational. They gave us a detailed report about the environment of our home. Then we sat down and put together a plan. This plan included long term and short term goals. Some things we executed immediately and that felt great. Just being proactive in whatever way you can is a start.
The first thing I did was to through all our cleaning products; I got a cardboard box and put almost everything in it. Then we went shopping, (if you know me, then you know I loved that part), and purchased all green, environmentally safe cleaning products, then I cleaned the house for two days and enjoyed it because I was creating a healthier environment The first thing Mike did was research and purchase HEPA air purifiers and HEPA vacuums. This is one immediate and not too expensive of a step to healthier indoor air quality.
Next we are going to change the way our washer and dryer is situated so that we can control moisture in our house. This meant cleaning out the garage. There are a number of toxic resources in most garages and those can ventilate in to the house. Attics and crawl spaces are also resources for clutter and dust, mite rodent problems. Most of this kind of environmental cleanup can be done without spending very much money, it just takes some desire and good old physical labor. Be sure to drink lots of water and wear a dust mask with a smile under it!
Congratulations you just took your first step to a healthier environment!