By Ashley Spegel
What we do to keep our homes looking good may bring personal gratification and compliments from friends, but the disinfectants, paints and fragrant sprays we use to sanitize our dwellings have a potentially harmful impact on our indoor air quality and healthy living.
Ninety per cent of our time is spent indoors and the indoor air quality in those confined spaces is 10 times more toxic than what we?re breathing in outside. We rarely think twice about spraying an air freshener, but the chemicals in this product, and others, can lower indoor air quality and contribute to indoor air pollution.
Indoor air quality: an underexposed issue
Indoor air quality is a major concern that many home and condo owners are unaware of. The quality of outdoor air has been at the forefront of health and government officials? agenda because there are visual cues that show it?s deteriorating, and this leads us to overlook the importance of indoor air quality and indoor air pollution.
?Products that (emit) gas, like paint cans, air fresheners, smoking and burning candles, the use of unnatural and synthetic products, personal care products like nail polishes and perfumes, and (household) cleaners ? all those products have toxins in the fumes that lower indoor air quality? says Cara Sweeny, programs director at the Clean Air Foundation. ?Indoor air pollution is extremely harmful to our goal of healthy leaving and it increases the chances of, and heightens sensitivities to, allergies and asthma.?
Reducing indoor air pollution
In order to reduce the levels of harmful composites in your home or condo, Sweeny suggests following these three principles:
?Eliminate all the products that lower indoor air quality and replace them with natural products like all-natural fibres for carpets, couches and drapes, and cleaners. Make sure you have proper ventilation (because) it?s important to have fresh air exchange in a home as much as possible to get rid of indoor air polution, and have adequate air purifying filters to optimize indoor air quality and improve healthy living,? she says.
The future of indoor air
The future of indoor air quality is slowly improving with the initiative of forward-thinking builders. Already there have been swift movements with environmental protection and conservation housing initiatives, and more builders are beginning to consider indoor air quality and indoor air pollution as important as the surroundings outside the home.
?As people try to engage in healthy living by investing in their home, (indoor air quality will) create a greater gain and significant momentum, and reducing indoor air pollution will become a selling point,? says Sweeny.
For more information on indoor air quality and its impact on healthy living, visit Health Indoors Partnership
and Toronto Public Health