Our lead indoor environmentalist and VP of Operations, Tony Abate, looks at five ways to help us improve the quality of air we’re breathing at home.
Seasonal allergy symptoms are commonly experienced part of the year, usually during spring, summer or fall when certain trees or grasses pollinate. This depends on the kind of trees or types of grass. For instance, some trees such as oak, elm, and maple pollinate in the spring, while grasses such as bermuda, timothy and orchard pollinate in the summer.
Published research tells us that Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is directly linked to health and wellness. In order to live long lives, we need to do all in our power to make sure our environments are clean and healthy.
I’ve laid out 5 easy steps to make sure our home’s air is healthy and fresh.
- Keep your floors fresh
Vacuum frequently with a machine with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. These vacuums are more efficient at absorbing and trapping small particles, and can remove contaminants and other allergens that a regular vacuum would recirculate into the air. Change the filter often, and don’t forget to vacuum the stuffed furniture (get under those couch and stuffed cushions).
All should know that ten harmful chemicals are found in 90 percent of the dust samples across numerous studies, including a known cancer-causing agent called TDCIPP, a flame retardant frequently found in furniture, baby products and other household items.
Dust is also made up of ultra-fine particulate matter. If not removed from the home, ultra-fine ‘PM’ makes its way into the air and even into our lungs and blood stream.
We suggest vacuuming two or more times each week.
- Introduce plants that improve IAQ
During the late 1980’s, NASA began studying houseplants as a means of providing purer and cleaner air for space stations. What they learned is that there are many different houseplants that can help to purify the air.
Many people have Aloe Vera in their homes because of its healing ability. The gel inside the leaves is excellent for helping to heal burns and cuts. Aloe Vera, however, is also a great plant to improve your indoor air quality. It is easy to grow (and hard to kill for those of you who do not possess a green thumb) and it helps to keep your home free from benzene which is commonly found in paint and certain chemical cleaners.
The Peace Lily is a beautiful plant and one that can improve your indoor air quality by as much as 60 percent. It helps to reduce the levels of mold spores that grow in the home by absorbing those spores through its leaves and then circulating them to the plant’s roots where they are used as food.
Plants bring about more peace and wellness so don’t hesitate to add a few to your bedroom, a critical area where we spend nearly 33% of our lives.
- Eliminate the harmful cleaners and fragrances
Cleaning supplies and air fresheners are packed with dozens of chemicals. Stay away!!
Be conscious of laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air fresheners in all forms. All of these could be emitting harmful, potentially cancer causing gases.
In one study, a plug-in air freshener was found to emit 20 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven regulated as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws. But these chemicals were not included on the label — only the word “fragrance” is required to be listed. The actual composition of the fragrance is considered a “trade secret.” (Web MD).
- Never smoke inside
Smoke is made of complex gases and particles that are really hard to break down as they linger.
“Probably the single most important aspect of indoor air pollution is secondhand cigarette smoke,” says Philip Landrigan, MD, a pediatrician and director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals and research has proven that it can increase respiratory infections, asthma, cancer, breathing problems, heart attacks, and stroke.
- Run your AtmosAir system
As Dr. Phil Tierno stated in his recent paper on AtmosAir active purification systems,
“There is only one technology that satisfies all of the tenants for providing clean indoor air quality for an entire building, which uses low energy, is effective against bacteria, viruses, and mold fungi (whether in air or on surfaces), neutralizes particulates, breaks down VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) eliminates unpleasant odors, eliminates static electricity, and produces no chemical or harmful by-products (including NO ozone production) and this is accomplished by the production of positive and negative ions (bipolar ionization). That system is AtmosAir Bipolar Ionization.”
AtmosAir is great at complementing your HVAC system to reduce various contaminants that make their way into the house. We suggest running the fan 24/7 with your AtmosAir system for the best results.