For many of us, walking into a mall or department store means being inundated with that strong synthetic scent. The watery eyes and runny nose are clear signs that the smell of chemical compounds are a toxic burden to our systems. The fact is, indoor air can be more toxic than the outdoor air in industrialized cities, according to the CDC. Each day we endure a gauntlet of chemicals, compounds, and environmental toxins from both indoor and outdoor sources.
While the outdoor air is a serious concern, many of us spend 90% of our day indoors. When we combine indoor air with additional factors, including the physical strain of artificial lighting and electronics, handling of toxic products, and noise pollution, just to name a few, it is no wonder the health of our population is deteriorating.
Many of us now suffer with chronic illnesses and allergies linked to chemical and environmental toxins. When our bodies are continually exposed to harmful elements, they can suspend or lose their natural ability to detoxify. Most people are unaware of the impact our indoor environments can have on our health.
Our homes, offices, retail stores, and restaurants all contain products that release volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). The building products used in construction, such as wood, concrete, sheetrock, paint, flooring, cabinets – and the list goes on – all release VOC’s. Exposure to VOC’s can create a very serious condition called sick building syndrome, where the indoor air requires our bodies to create a physical response as a coping mechanism.
Our interior comfort elements, including furnishings, art, electronics, and personal items like books and clothes – also have an extensive impact on the air we breathe. Each product releases a chemical cocktail referred to as off-gassing. While individual products off-gas to varying degrees, it is when these chemicals combine, that they can cause the greatest detriment.
To reduce the impact of VOC’s it is important to keep our indoor environments clean and circulating with fresh air. Opening windows is a great option when possible. However, it is wise to check with www.airnow.gov before opening windows to be sure the outdoor air in your area is healthy to breathe. Air purifiers can also clean and refresh indoor air. Look for units that are well suited to the room or building size and occupants’ needs. A cost-effective and esthetically pleasing option is adding indoor plants. Plants are a great option to reduce indoor air pollution. Plants not only have the ability to create oxygen, they can also absorb and remove VOC’s, while providing a much needed connection to the natural world.
To assist our body’s natural ability to heal and restore, it is essential to identify and avoid toxic elements. Remove products that are known to be problematic or find ways to reduce their impact. When constructing a new building or remodeling it is important to find products that are low in harmful VOC’s. Many products are currently on the market that provide a similar look and function to their traditional counterparts. When purchasing new furnishings or personal products remember to consider the impact it will have on your health. Every item you bring into your home or business will create an impact on your indoor air quality.
To learn more about low-VOC products and other options to reduce your chemical exposure continue following us at www.wellnessviadesign.com or on Facebook and LinkedIn.
One thought on “Indoor Air Quality”
Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.