Quick Tip #3#3
Note that “fragrance” is an artificial scent composed of dozens of chemicals. Fragrances are found in shampoos, colognes, aftershave, perfumes, lotions, deodorants, detergents, candles. Look for products that do not list “fragrance” as an ingredient. Even soy candles have scents that may affect those with respiratory ailments, including asthma. Unscented beeswax candles are a good alternative.
Stop using air fresheners. Many have formaldehyde and solid ones can cause death if eaten by children or pets. Set out a bowl of citrus fruits or herbal teas for natural fragrance. Use baking soda or vinegar in a bowl to absorb odors. Open the windows to allow fresh air indoors.
(See more Quick Tips in our other pages.)
Fall is when Heating Season Begins
Issues: Natural Gases (what comes into the home) & Combustion Gases (what comes out of appliances)
Why It's Important? Safety, Health, Cost, and Environmental Savings
Explanation: PECO raised prices 20% for natural gas. Small gas leaks are frequently undetected (behold the odor threshold). You are paying for this gas without using it.
Solution: Do a gas line check for small leaks (below the odor threshold). Repair leaks. Your natural gas provider does not come out to detect these.
Explanation: Carbon Monoxide (CO) mimics flu symptoms and is a deadly gas. Gas appliances (heaters, water heaters, dryers, ovens, fireplaces, etc.) produce CO.
Solution: Service heater and set it to burn efficiently; install carbon monoxide detectors at each level (especially outside the bedrooms).
WHAT WE BRING INDOORS, WE BREATHE AND ABSORB
Many people assume that health problems such as allergies, headaches, or runny noses, are things we should suffer with or just take medications to alleviate. Yet, few people are looking at the sources of these problems which can be the materials, chemical or biologic agents and other factors that impact our health in our own homes or workspaces.
“Modern building materials, furnishings, and paint and other coatings can also be a source of indoor air pollution. Often these materials are made with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that outgas into the home, sometimes causing respiratory problems. Wall-to-wall carpeting can serve as a reservoir for pollutants, including pesticides, tracked in from outdoors, as well as for dust mites, bacteria, and asthma-inducing allergens. Even household water may not be completely safe--radon gas, a cause of lung cancer, can become aerosolized in water droplets in hot showers, and water may contain chlorinated by-products associated with elevated rates of bladder cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes.”
(John Manuel, A Healthy Home Environment? Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 107, Number 7, July 1999). Environmental Health Perspectives is a publication of the National Institute of Environmental Health Services, National Institutes of Health.
Below are some recent headlines that may interest you.
- American Academy of Pediatrics, “Toxic Effects of Indoor Molds,” Committee on Environmental Health, 4/1998.
- USA Today, “Household Chemicals Linked to Kids’ Asthma,” Elizabeth Weise, 9/29/2004.
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “Environmental Contaminants and Their Relation to Learning, Behavioral and Developmental Disorders,” Children’s Environmental Health Factsheet, 5/20/2005.
- The Wall Street Journal, “Levels of Risk: Common Industrial Chemicals in Tiny Doses Raise Health Issue,” Peter Waldman, 7/25/2005.
- London Times, “Household Insecticides Could Double Child Leukemia Risk”, Sam Lister, 1/17/2006.
CHILDREN LIVE LOW
This means that their small stature and their living, playing and sleeping activities place them closer to the floor where carpets trap pollutants and chemicals from cleaners and products settle. Pound for pound, children breathe more air, eat more food and drink more fluids than adults. Their lungs and livers, the “filters of last resort”, are smaller than adults. As such, they are more affected by contaminants in the home than are adults.
INCREASINGLY, THERE ARE ENVIRONMENTAL LINKS TO VARIOUS ILLNESSES
These include cancers, hormone interference (endocrine disruptors), infertility, asthma, autoimmune disorders, and others. These have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and many other peer-reviewed, scientific publications and establishments.
- Your first step to creating a healthier indoor environment is awareness.
- The next step is to take one positive action.
- Educate others in your household or workplace about what you are trying to do.
Your home and working place should be healthy and safe for all occupants. If you suspect there may be a problem, contact Healthy Spaces for a free phone consultation.
“We truly appreciate your sharing your time and expertise with us.”
Tammy, Main Line.