Saturday, March 20, 2010

Healthier Indoor Air

Researchers have found that it is best to avoid spray cleaners because they can increase the chances of asthma symptoms by almost 50%.   For years I have used more natural cleanings methods such as vinegar and soda because some of these smell so bad they just seem unhealthy.
Spray products can contain VOC's (volatile organic compounds).  These are connected to hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems.  They enter the earth's atmosphere  and many are harmful to our health.  They are chemicals we do not need to breath  if we can avoid it.
6 major sources of indoor air pollution according to the Shop Smart magazine are:

Aerosol Sprays  - air fresheners, cleaners, glues, furniture polish, paints and pesticides.  Avoid.

Air Fresheners  -  get rid of the source of the odor or leave a large box of baking soda in the smelly area.
Don't use these just to smell good.

Dry Cleaned Clothing  -  The perchloroethylene in some of the cleaners causes cancer in animals and a probable human carcinogen.  Limit dry cleaning; air out treated clothes before bringing them indoors; consider buying only clothes that can be washed..  Ask your dry cleaner about eco-friendly options or call the local dry cleaning association for a list of eco friendly cleaners.

Dust and Mites  -  dust and mites  as well as pet dander, pollen, bacteria, mold, mildew and viruses can trigger allergic reactions and some types of asthma.  Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in mite proof covers. (at least start with the pillows)  Wash linens in the hottest water.  Avoid carpets and upholestered furniture in the bedroom.  Vacuum upholestry and mattresses often.  Leave pets out of the bedroom.  Remove shoes at the door to avoid tracking pollens and dust.

Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaners  -  some of these have VOC's.  Some cleaners and scouring powders might contain chlorine bleach that can form toxic gases if mixed with other cleaners.  Drain openers and oven cleaners can damage eyes, skin, and lungs.  Avoid these.  Use a plunger or plumber's snake in drains.  Another idea - pour in a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar.  When the bubbling stops pour boiling water down the drain.  For over cleaners use steel wool and baking soda as soon as the spill cools.  For stubborn spills add some salt.  It you use a self- clean feature ventilate well.

Personal Care Products  -  Nail care products especially polish removers contain a lot of volatile chemicals.  We all smell that when we are around a nail salon.  It can irritate the lungs, affect the nervous system, irritate the eyes, nose and throat.  Perfumes and scented products have been linked to birth defects, reproductive and hormonal abnormalities.  Use more fragrance free products.  If you use perfume switch to every other day.  Drop it if you are breast feeding or are pregnant.  Use nail care products in well ventilated areas.  That stuff smells so bad I just stay away from it.

For do it yourself cleaning ideas go to going green at

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