Rossendale Free Press
Is your home in need of air care?
Your home could be more polluted than the street but making simple changes can help you breathe easy. KIM JONES investigates
MANY of us will be stuck indoors for much longer than we’d like this winter, and have been leaving home only for exercise or to nip to the supermarket. While staying in may help protect us from Covid-19, health experts are warning that being cooped up for long periods could harm our health in other ways.
That’s because, according to the My Health My Home indoor air quality campaign, the air in our homes can be five times more polluted than outdoor air, containing up to 900 potentially dangerous chemicals and gases.
They include formaldehydes and benzene, as well as naturally occurring moulds and dusts, all of which can cause fatigue, headaches and wheezing.
And they have been linked to serious health conditions, too, such as asthma, cancers, respiratory infections and heart disease.
To add to this, a lot of what we’re doing to make our homes cosy during lockdown – burning scented candles, roasting, baking and even a spot of DIY – can increase our exposure to pollutants.
The good news is, you can improve air quality, you just have to know a few simple tricks.
CAUTIOUS OF CONDENSATION
EVERYDAY activities such as cooking, taking a shower or drying laundry can cause condensation.
It can lead to moulds developing, which give off allergens and toxins that can cause respiratory infections and asthma. So ventilate the house well.
“If you have double glazing, keep trickle vents open,” says Nicholas Donnithorne of Rentokil Property Care.
“When cooking, boiling a kettle or using hot water in the bathroom, close doors and switch on extractor fans to prevent moisture escaping to colder rooms and collecting on walls.”
Dehumidifiers work by pulling in moisture-laden air, removing the moisture into an in-built tank, then releasing dry air back into the room.
NASA’S Clean Air Study, conducted to find the best ways to clean the air in space stations, discovered that plants were purifying stars.
Peace lilies and rubber plants are clever when it comes to removing toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene (found in synthetic fabrics and paint) from the air.
DETERGENTS, bleaches and polishes, chemical products we use to keep things clean, release volatile organic compounds
(VOCs )such as formaldehyde and acetone.
These can increase allergy and asthma symptoms and may even affect lung function.
Try plantbased, nontoxic products that leave air clean. Try Bio-D (biod. co.uk) and Ecozone (ecozone.com).
WE all want a sweet-smelling home but the paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances in scented candles and air fresheners release chemicals and gases that can exacerbate allergy symptoms, cause headaches and are even linked to cancer.
All candles produce soot and smoke, which can be harmful when inhaled in large amounts, but candles made from natural waxes such as soy and beeswax produce less.
THE easiest – and cheapest – way to get rid of pollutants is to open the windows, even in winter.
Keeping windows locked all day allows chemicals and allergens to build up.
CHEMICALS used in the production of carpets, sofas and paints can all emit harmful fumes. For paint, try brands like
Lakeland no-VOC paints (lakelandpaints. co.uk) and search out sofa makers that use nontoxic flame retardants and glues, as well as rugs and carpets low in VOCs .