Our home should be a safe place. It is where you should feel that you are at your safest and most protected. However, the modern home is exposed to a variety of indoor pollutants. You spend most of your time in your home, where you are exposed to several contaminants. These contaminants can put you at risk of allergic reactions, respiratory diseases, and even cancer.
Indoor air pollutants can be classified as biological or chemical. Biological air pollutants include viruses, molds, bacteria, mildew, house dust, pollen, and mites, among many others. Chemical indoor pollutants include compounds such as carbon monoxide, radon, and asbestos.
Everyone knows that indoor air pollutants can cause allergies and even trigger asthma attacks. But they can also cause other serious issues such as behavioral problems in your children.
Air Pollutants Can Affect Your Child’s Brain Development
Clean air is important for the health and well-being of your children. Many highly-urbanized cities around the world go beyond the accepted and safe levels of air pollutants. The bad news is, air pollutants can affect the brain development of children. This can result in lower cognitive abilities and a wide range of behavioral problems, which include autism and ADHD. However, children are not only exposed to outdoor air pollutants.
In a report published by the World Health Organization, 41% of children were exposed to household air pollutants that result from cooking. This is most common in households that use biomass as their cooking fuels. Other sources of indoor air pollution include secondhand tobacco smoke, heaters, fireplaces, and inhalable particles.
Many families turn to a dependable home air purifier to improve the indoor air quality of their homes. Other ways to improve your home’s air quality include the following: opening the windows if possible, cleaning the house, changing your air filters, and keeping your plants outside.
Toxic Air Pollutants That You Should Watch Out For
One of the most common toxic indoor air pollutants is asbestos. If you are living in an older home built before the ’90s, chances are, it was made of materials that contained asbestos.
What made asbestos popular for construction materials was its inherent properties. Asbestos was known for its strength and flexibility. It was also heat-resistant and has good insulating properties. It was used in various applications, such as insulation, siding, roofing, fireproofing, soundproofing, paint, and floor tiles.
The effects of asbestos on one’s health are varied. A person’s risk of developing lung cancer due to asbestos depends on the following:
- How much asbestos the person has been exposed to
- How long the person has been exposed to asbestos
- The age when the person was exposed to asbestos
- The exposed person has a history of smoking
- The type of asbestos the person was exposed to
Asbestosis is another chronic lung disease that a person exposed to asbestos can develop. A person with asbestosis develops pulmonary fibrosis, which is characterized by scar-like tissues in the lungs. A person with asbestosis will experience shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and bluish skin coloring.
Another toxic pollutant that you should watch out for in older homes is lead. When inhaled, lead is easily absorbed by the body. Lead was only banned as a component of paints in the late 1970s. Paints with lead were commonly used for home exteriors and interiors. Some sources of lead include cosmetics, medicines, and even food.
Exposure to high levels of lead can have serious health implications, especially for children. Lead can attack the central nervous system, which can lead to seizures, coma, and death. Those that survive high levels of lead exposure end up with mental and behavioral problems and disorders. When exposed to lower concentrations of lead, children can suffer from behavioral changes which can include reduced attention span and even a lower IQ.
Detoxify Your Home For Your Family’s Safety
In some instances, you might need to hire an expert to inspect your homes for toxic pollutants, such as asbestos and lead. Managing biological pollutants, however, are easier. Here are some steps that you should take to start detoxifying your home.
- Open the windows to let the polluted air out and fresh air in.
- Do not bring your shoes inside.
- Get rid of products with volatile organic compounds, such as your vinyl curtains.
- Toss out chemical-laden products such as pesticides and cleaning agents. Choose natural and organic products. They are safer and kinder to Mother Nature.
- Clean off dust using microfiber cloths instead of using feathers. This will prevent the dust from scattering, which you’d want if there is a possibility that the dust is contaminated.
- Make sure to clean and replace your filters as needed.
- Vacuum carpets at least once a week.
Examine your lifestyle if you are bringing in more toxins into your home. Keep your home clean and do your best to stick with natural products as much as possible. It will also be helpful to check the label first before you buy anything.