Did you know that people in industrialized countries spend as much as 90% of their time indoors? We work, study, eat, drink, and sleep in enclosed environments where air circulation may be restricted.
Believe it or not, indoor air pollution has been ranked as one of the world’s greatest public health risks. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that globally more than 2 million people die each year as a result of toxic air.
There are many contributors to toxic indoor air, including fire-retardants found in furnishings and building materials, volatile chemicals found in household products and personal grooming products, solvents used in cleaning, the use of paints and paint thinners, and pesticides used against termites, roaches, and other critters. High pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods after many of these toxic chemicals are used.
Pollution exposure at home and work is often in greater levels than when you are outdoors. Some groups estimate that indoor air pollutant levels are about 50% greater than outside levels and can pose serious problems like asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease.
Here are 4 easy ways to improve the quality of your indoor air:
1. Stop using toxic chemicals.
Get rid of all toxic chemicals in your home. Choose cleaning products and personal grooming products that are environmentally friendly. Use low VOC paints and let your house off-gas before spending time indoors.
2. Fill your home and office with plants.
NASA research has shown that living green and flowering plants can remove several toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air. Some of the best plants to use are the Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen, English Ivy, Gerbera Daisy, Pot Mum, and Peace Lily.
3. Let the outside in.
Open your doors and windows and turn on all your fans on a regular basis to let the air in your home or office circulate.
4. Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
You can get rid of toxins, like brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs) as well as allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites with this great tool.
If you know anyone who’s stuck indoors way too much, share this article with them and help them stay healthy and safe.
Alejandra Carrasco, M.D., is an integrative and functional medicine physician, best-selling author of Bloom, and founder of Nourish Medicine, a root-cause resolution integrative and functional medicine practice in Austin, Texas. She received her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center. Alex is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine as well as the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. She is also a certified practitioner by the Institute of Functional Medicine and has spent the last decade studying nutrition, integrative, preventive, and functional medicine.