Indoor Air Quality


When I was young,  air pollution was a hot topic for environmentalists. I still remember the first time I heard the term acid rain. I was in the school library in grade seven and I was overtaken with fear. Why did I not know about this before now , I asked myself. I had visions of people being burned by hot acid falling from the sky. I had a very vivid imagination, I know. I remember thinking that I needed to know more. To educate myself on this atrocity that had instantly shifted my thoughts to outside of myself. It was like a light bulb being switched on.

 

 

 

There was a major downfall though. The environmental sciences were not for people like me…or so I was led to believe at that very impressionable time in my life. Topics like acid rain were for the “smart people”. I was an artsy girl who was more interested in the creative side of life. I had been pigeon-holed by myself as much as those around me. If I could step back in time and meet myself I would seriously kick my own butt! I had allowed others to dictate what my role was going to be  throughout my high school life from that one moment in time. I led a secret life inside my head for years longing for more information regarding the impact we have on our planet. How we need to co-exist and make positive changes to our environment. And most importantly, filling my brain with info on what acid rain really is. The first time I drove by large steel factories and seeing the plumes of smoke billowing from the chimneys and the dead trees surrounding the area I immediately thought of acid rain. Over time and with the maturing of my thought processes I realized that there is so much about ourselves and our environment that is closely linked in ways most people don’t consider. There is a precarious balance that we must maintain and help to keep stable. The minute details in our every day actions shift the balance either in favour or against our relationship with the natural environment. It is bigger than those few steel factories…it is the billions of homes around this planet of ours and what we do within them, outside of them, and our connection to the natural world around us that makes an enormous impact.

 

 

 

Now that I’ve been stuck indoors for a couple of months, not outside in the garden I am starting to feel the lack of sanctuary that the outdoors seems to provide. The air outside seems to be so much more full of life to breath in. You can feel the subtle differences with the changes of the season as well as change of location. Indoor air pollution is a huge issue that isn’t getting the attention it deserves on a personal level in each of our homes. I seem to get the impression that most people just assume that their home is exempt from the air pollution issue because they keep their house is “clean”. Here in lies the problem. Those chemicals labelled as cleaning products and air fresheners are what is most likely the major pollutant in your home. What you don’t know can hurt you. Let’s look at a few statistics on indoor air pollution and cleaning products, shall we?

 

 

  • the EPA reports that only a fraction of the 81,000+ registered chemicals in cleaning products have been tested for health concerns

 

  • approximately 9 out of 10 poisonings occurs within the home. Household chlorine bleach is the number one offender in household poisonings.

 

  • pollutants inside the home are often 2 to 5 times higher than outside the home

 

  • we spend on average 80-90% of our time indoors where there is not proper air ventilation from outdoors

 

  • asthma, allergy and chemical sensitivity rates are soaring. Childhood asthma rates in children ages 5-14 years has skyrocketed and the rate of death from asthma almost doubled between 1980 and 1993.

 

  • off-gasing of products such as traditional paints, carpets, flooring, glues, and flame-retardants causes high levels of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) such as benzene, formaldehyde, and flame retardants – PBDE’s. If you can smell it, it’s going into your body. That new car smell isn’t as glorious as we all once thought!

 

  • chemicals in traditional cleaning products can be found in the bloodstreams of newborn babies and have been connected to varying health concerns (over 287 different chemies, to be exact, including pesticides, garbage waste and flame retardants)

 

  • air “fresheners” do not get rid of a smell, they mask smells with potentially toxic chemicals such as di-chlorobenzene, phthalates, formaldehyde and other nasties. If something smells locate the culprit and clean it don’t try to mask the smell!

 

  • many all-purpose cleaning products contain petroleum-based surfactants that can mimic estrogen. Hormone disruption can be a very serious issue as these chemicals accumulate.

 

  • body burden is a term used to explain the amount of toxins our body has accumulated. Scary that this term even exists.

 

  • most chemicals sold as conventional cleaning products have not been tested either long or short-term for toxicity in humans

 

 

 

 

Due to the Clean Air Act  first implemented in 1963, a decade before I was even born, the air outside hasn’t become more polluted in many areas while our indoor air quality has declined substantially. We are the ones making our homes sick, which in turn makes ourselves carry a larger toxic burden. I’m not talking about processed food, lack of exercise, or germs here although those are essential topics to great health. I am referring to the chemicals we bring into our homes, thinking we are creating a clean environment for ourselves and our families. A clean home does NOT need to smell like fake pine trees, bleach or a weird synthetic lemon smell. No smell  indicates clean!

A few things I ask myself and others:

– would you need to call poison control if you ingested any cleaners in your house?

– would you eat off your kitchen floor after cleaning it?

– could you water your plants with any products you use for cleaning?

– is breathing while you are cleaning important to you?

– do you need to wear rubber gloves to use your cleaning products?

 

 

Having a healthy and clean home is incredibly simple. The hardest part is to dispose of the myths our minds have been impregnated with in regard to what clean should smell like, that if it’s harsh it will clean better, everything needs to be sterilized beyond belief, and most importantly we need to kick the notion to the curb that if it is sold on a store shelf it must be safe. It’s time society grew a brain and realized that household chemicals are meant to kill things. That is their purpose. We are not immune to their abilities to eradicate – super heroes we are not. The human body is a miraculous thing but when we inundate ourselves repeatedly with toxins, our system can only do so much to detoxify itself. If we start to detoxify our homes by using safe, natural cleaning techniques it is a huge step to not just our own well-being but that of the planet. Simple things make a huge impact if enough of us make those simple changes. Choosing appropriate products/items for a cleaning job will take equal to or less time and/or money than conventional toxic products.

 

 

 

A truly “green” or environmentally safe cleaning product is one that is made from natural ingredients, does no harm to you, your children, your pets, the environment inside or outside your home and is fully biodegradable.  If a product is safe enough to use outside without damaging but actually invigorating the eco-system it’s a great fit for inside my home.  I whole-heartedly recommend the products at the Live Love Be Green website link at the right side of this page. If you are interested in what made me choose this product line over all others, read the post that started it all.

 

 

I am very passionate about the beautiful planet we all call Home. As my mission statement for this blog states, I am making my world greener one day at a time. This starts each and every morning when my feet touch the floor…in my home.

 

 

Join me on my Live Love Be Green Facebook page and click “like” while you are visiting!

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Indoor Air Quality

  1. I hope you can get outside soon and sink your feet in the mud and your nose in the air 🙂
    Keeping a clean house is a cinch these days. Baking soda and a good scrub brush are pretty much all I use…occasionally some essential oils if I’m feeling whimsical 😉
    *anna

    • Me too, Anna! I’ve been so out-of-touch with the outdoors lately that I’ve even considered a good barefoot romp around the backyard in the snow! I am glad to hear that you are doing your part in keeping your footprint light. I used to clean with vinegar and baking soda as well as lemons. Then I came to a few conclusions (my opinion and research here): 1) I thought that there must be a more satisfactory level of clean out there somewhere 2) the cost wasn’t really that inexpensive when I compared it to what I use now (I can make a window cleaner for approximately 3 cents for a 16oz bottle using BasicH2) 3) my brain made me question the pH factor involved with using vinegar – if it is acidic enough to kill off unwanted flora outside and change the soil pH, do I want to put it down my drain possibly depleting oxygen in streams and groundwater? Like I said, just my thought process.

      I commend you highly for taking the steps to rid your home of chemicals and air pollution! Thanks for stopping in, reading and commenting. I love to hear what other like-minded people are doing to detox their homes.

  2. Your post on what started it all is some story! Whoa! Even briefly trying to Imagine your feelings during that time is really scary. Sharing your story and your products is a service to all of us! So glad you’ve been able to educate us.

    • Cyndi, you are so awesome! You are always so upbeat…I love it! Thank you for taking the time to read the story that started it all. My heart was speaking in that post. Sometimes it can be intimidating to share what is in the heart. It is essential to share information that can make a difference. Without sharing knowledge and ideas how would anyone learn new things? Thank you for being open and responsive to new ideas.

  3. It’s too bad more people don’t know there ARE alternatives out there, and they don’t have to cost a fortune. Personally, I can’t stand to walk down the cleaning aisle in the store anymore. It gives me a headache! I’m grateful I made the switch. I’ll never go back.

    • Agreed…the cleaning product aisle is nasty! Every so often I remember something I forgot at the opposite side of the grocery store and try to find the most direct route and mistakenly turn down the laundry aisle. Good grief! I hold my breath as long as possible. Of course my dramatic offspring love to make a production out of it with the whole gasping at the end of the aisle for breath while holding the throat. Always draws attention.

      Way to go Teresa! Your kids will thank you one day (but not the day you have them doing the cleaning because it is safe enough for them to do for you)! 😉

  4. Totally agree!! I haven’t walked down “that” aisle of the grocery store in years… (actually, I don’t go down many inside aisles anymore, come to think of it… but that’s a whole other discussion, isn’t it?!). Ugh!
    So true, hot water, baking soda, lemons, vinegar the odd time and some good cloths… good to go. It burns me to think that so many of these toxic chemicals are allowed to be sold and even worse, people are allowed to be marketed to in such a way as to make them think that these products are safe… and even make you’re home clean and healthier! Yuk! And love how so many label them “green” now… I bought into that for awhile, thinking I was making less toxic choices… we really need to take time to educate ourselves, read labels, re-assess what “clean” really means… and pass it on! Thanks for the reminder, Melissa!
    … And like you… I can’t wait to get back outside for more hours in the day! 🙂

    • Ah, the dreaded inside aisles. The coffee aisle calls to me like a siren to the middle of the store. I can’t help myself.

      Greenwashing is a very serious problem. It drives me bonkers that society falls for these gimmicks employed by chemical companies. First question when looking at a new product…who makes it? If it’s a chemical company or one of its affiliates it is probably wise to put it down slowly and back away. What is the motive of a company to make green products? The trend towards green buying power and the greed behind capitalizing on it or ethics. My vote is on greed for these chemical giants to manipulate a market to their benefit. There are some great environmentally responsible companies out there that make truly natural products it is just finding the tools that work for each of us. It’s obvious that I choose Shaklee Get Clean products from Live Love Be Green’s website 😉 I love that the basic all purpose solution is made from corn and coconut. No crap, just real ingredients. Simple and very budget-friendly.

      Thanks for commenting, Sheryl. Always nice to hear your views.

      It is finally getting lighter earlier and stays brighter a bit longer these days…Spring is just around the corner!

    • It really is scary, isn’t it? The fact that we are unknowingly harming ourselves so someone can make a buck. Sad. The more knowledge we have, the more power we have as consumers. Getting back to the basics is where it’s at! Thanks for commenting.

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