Combating Indoor Air Pollution in Summer

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indoor plants

During the summer months when the weather gets warm, many people tend to close their windows, shut their doors and turn on their air conditioning, fans or swap coolers in an effort to stay cool. While this may seem like a good idea, the EPA reports air pollutants indoors are often two to five times higher than the air pollution found outside, and in some instances as much as 100 times higher. These are pretty staggering statistics, particularly considering how many Americans spend close to 90 percent of their day indoors.

Although it reveals the sad state of our world, as Jacques-Yves Cousteau says, “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” Fortunately, you and I can take simple actions to combat indoor air pollution in summer so as to minimize our chances of feeling the adverse health affects (headaches, coughs, dry eyes, asthma, breathing or respiratory problems, and fatigue) associated with poor indoor air quality.

Steps to Reduce Indoor Air Pollutants

  • Make your own natural air freshener to help eliminate toxic odors and stale air.
  • Make DIY cleaners with natural and organic ingredients, as chemical cleaners only worsen indoor air quality.
  • Now that you have more biofriendly cleaning solutions, take the time to dust, vacuum and clean your house often to prevent the build-up of dust and other particles which  may have settled in your home.
  • Build a living wall or bring in some indoor houseplants known for improving air quality and reducing pollutants.
  • Open your windows in the early morning or evening hours when the weather is cooler, the sun is not shining brightly on your home and it is safe to do so. Having fresh air circulate through your home daily can get rid of harmful pollutants.
  • Inspect your air filter regularly and replace as needed. You do not need to be recirculating pet dander, dirt, and dust back into the air you breathe.
  • Be sure to check faucets for leaks, and inspect showers and other places where moisture is likely to accumulate. It is in areas such as these where mold and mildew can grow.
  • Invest in an eco-friendly air purifier to help improve your indoor quality of life.
  • Pay attention to the products you buy. When you buy furniture and household items loaded with toxins and chemicals, you are adding pollutants into your home. Do what you can to minimize the number of harmful pollutants you bring into your home.
  • Plan as many outdoor activities as you can, so you and your family are not cooped up inside too long. Even if it is hot, activities can still be planned to allow you to spend a little time out in nature, exploring and enjoying all the great outdoors has to offer.

Sources:
EPA.gov: Questions About Your Community: Indoor Air
Mother Earth Living: Reduce Indoor Air Pollution with Houseplants

Indoor plants image by Faith Goble via Flickr Creative Commons license

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