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March 18, 2015

Spring Clean: Reducing Chemicals and Pollutants in Your Home

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pollutants in your home

Spring Clean: Reduce Chemicals and Pollutants in Your Home

These days, homeowners are getting smarter and more informed. Over the years, we have become well versed in asking educated questions about the products and materials we bring into our home environments which may cause pollutants to leech into our indoor air. From cleaning supplies, paints, building materials, furniture and carpeting, these substances have the ability to off-gas toxins that can cause discomfort, fatigue, irritability, and even illness.

Although it is likely not possible, realistic, or even necessary to remove each and every toxin form our home environment, the months ahead are a perfect time of year for a Spring Clean. A time to take a closer look at the many chemicals that may be lurking within our home that may be potentially harmful, and the perfect opportunity to seek out healthier and less impactful alternatives. A small effort to reduce the chemicals and pollutants in your home can go a long way at improving your indoor air quality, and your health.

With a quick look at content labels, homeowners can easily arm themselves with the knowledge needed to protect their homes, families, and choose safer and smarter options.  Here are some ideas that can help:

Ventilate Your Home
The spring is the perfect time of year to get the air circulating in your home. Open the windows, when weather permits, and let that fresh air in. Increased ventilation within your home can do wonders to dilute and reduce Carbon Dioxide levels which may have been allowed to creep up over the winter months as a result of shutting ourselves in so tightly. The fresh air will also help lessen any odours, stuffiness or chemicals smells within your home.

Go Green
Whenever possible, choose natural or water based products for cleaning. Effort and care should always be taken to ensure that when we are cleaning our homes and removing contaminants from our environment, that we are not inadvertently putting others back in. Choose unscented, nontoxic and non-aerosol products to reduce the impact cleaners may have on your indoor air quality and overall VOC levels.

Read Labels
When selecting a paint to use while “freshening” up your home, choose Low VOC or No VOC options. They are easy to find will go a long way in helping to prevent VOC contaminants from entering your indoor air. Also, be aware of products that are known as common VOC offenders like composite wood furniture or synthetic air fresheners.  Also, pay special attention to products contents in an effort to limit formaldehyde exposure.

Avoid Plastic Additives, Flame Retardants and Petrochemicals
Although they may be more of a challenge to avoid, the extra effort may be worth it in the attempt to minimize the risk, as some of these chemicals have been known to accumulate in the body over time. Choose natural fibers and make the effort to look for PVC-free carpet backing. When looking at other types of flooring, look towards rubber, cork and linoleum options rather than typical vinyl products.

Approach this upcoming spring cleaning season as an opportunity to help protect your home, your family, and reduce the level of chemicals and pllutants in your home. Start with arming yourself with knowledge; take advantage of the huge amount of information available via the internet. Learning about more sustainable products is often just a click away…and always remember that if you can’t understand the label, and what a product contains, you probably shouldn’t be putting it inside your home!  If unsure, look towards professional air quality testing services to help.

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