Is the air in your home toxic?
Did you know that you can potentially have just as much air pollution inside of your home as outside? The quality of the air inside of your home can easily be overlooked. Something as simple as the cleaning products you use or the methods in which you freshen up the air in your home can have big impacts on your health. Our homes should be safe and comfortable spaces where we spend most of our time and with the people we love. With this is mind, it is important to take the appropriate steps to reduce toxic exposure in our homes.
Where does indoor pollution come from?
It can come from many places such as paint, carpet and flooring off-gassing and even mould. Places that may be overlooked are cleaners and air fresheners. When it comes to cleaning products, did you know that the chemicals emitted from many store bought cleaners can trigger asthma or increase your chance of developing it later on in life? Moreover, some ingredients in the products are known cancer causing agents but are still present in many household products.
To reduce your exposure, here’s where you can start:
Read the labels of cleaning and air freshener products and try to avoid these ingredients
- Chlorine Bleach
- Chlorine is a strong nasal and lung irritant. It is also a very reactive substance and when you may think you’re getting a deeper clean by mixing products, you may actually be producing toxic fumes, for example mixing chlorine with vinegar or chlorine with ammonia produce hazardous gases
- Ammonia and ammonia derivatives called “quats”
- Ammonia is another irritant to your nasal tract and can cause coughing and throat irritation. Ammonium quats act similarly and can aggravate asthma.
- Synthetic fragrances can trigger allergies especially those with asthma. Opt for natural essential oils instead to refresh the air in your home.
- This is a tricky one, where on the label you won’t see the word formaldehyde but will see others names that are formaldehyde releasing agents. Formaldehyde is a known cancer causing agent and is what is used as embalming fluid. Here is how it may look on a label:
- DMDM hydantoin (trade name Glydant)
- Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol)
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Hexahydro-1,3,5-tris (2-hydroxyethyl)-S-triazine
A good resource to refer to is the Environmental Working Group’s website. They have many guides on how to choose products on the market that are safe for you and your family as well as DIY options to clean your home.