Posted on 04 June 2012.
This guest post is by David Beastall of http://www.midfilters.co.uk.
Poor air is isn’t something we often think of within our own homes as we associate this place as being somewhere safe and secure. The external environmental impacts of reduced air quality are quite apparent when we’re outside as they’re often grand in scale and reported on widely by news media and campaigners. These might be car emissions or the burning of other carbon based fossil fuels that we can easily hear and spot.
In the home, sources of poor air quality are much more subtle, and in many instances we’re not even aware that something may be responsible for causing negative health effects. They can be just as influential on our health because the nature of our homes and the way we live in the western world ensures, steady, consistent and longer periods of exposure.
Thanks to modern understanding of science and chemistry, we can soon start to shed some light on things that are outside of our awareness that might be affecting us.
Solvent chemicals are present in aerosols, air fresheners, glues & adhesives, domestic cleaning sprays and fluids; some are even contained within furnishings and furniture. Soft furnishings like upholstery and cushions are often treated with special man-made chemicals that exhibit properties that have been observed to be beneficial in some way. For example, some chemicals will make fabrics more resistant to heat or fire, ensure dyes don’t run and stain or make materials feel soft and plush to touch.
You might be aware that CocaCola was actually invented by a chemist in a lab and marketed as a medicine. It was only after this didn’t prove so successful that the actual taste would allow it to become such as distinctive beverage when combined with a good idea and a bit of innovative thinking. The taste was just a side effect.
So how do these things affect the quality of the air in our home? These chemicals find their way into the air contained within fine particles that break away, and remember this is in addition to household cleaners and air freshers you might normally be using anyway.
The television commercials and advertisements might have us take a long deep breath as we scent our home with exotic fragrances or wash our clothes in detergents and conditions smelling of wild orchids. Have you ever stopped to read what they’re made of?
So we know our homes do indeed typically contain many source of air pollutants whether they be natural, artificial, self created or allergen based and they’re not always things we might think of as having the potential to cause harm.
When buying furnishings for your home, you can check the labels to give you an idea of the processes they underwent during their production. You can skip this step by actively choosing to buy from stores and suppliers who are ecologically aware and conscious of the impacts unnatural development methods can have on health and the environment as a whole.
Ensuring that your home is a clean place to live is not just for the benefit of it looking tidy, it actually served a pretty important purpose throughout history, and this was the process of ridding it of anything that might present itself as a health concern that could potentially lead to illness or disease.
Creating proper ventilation will help to replace old air, with fresh air that is free of the airborne contaminants that will be present within indoor air. This can achieve by opening windows periodically throughout the day or during the times in which you will be at home. Carrying out thorough cleaning will reduce dust and mite levels, eliminate causes of mould spores.
Cheap commercial chemicals found in aerosols that are designed to replicate real world scents can be replaced with naturally scented alternatives such as burning oils or candles that are treated with a natural fragrance or even the real thing. There are a number of alternative companies that care about the environmental implications and thus provide a range of cleaning products that use non harmful substances to achieve the same results.
However above all else we must understand there is often a small health cost to be paid for particular home comforts, conveniences and inexpensive consumer buying.
About the author:
This post was contributed by David Beastall. David blogs for Midland Filtration who are providers and suppliers of industrial air filtration products and services for the public sector, business and industry.
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