We tend to think of air pollution as the smog that hovers over busy cities or the fumes billowing from a smokestack. But certain pollutants are more common indoors than out. Volatile organic compounds for example, can be two to five times higher indoors than out under normal circumstances. They come from chemicals like paint or nail polish, but also off-gassing from carpeting and insulation. Other contaminants such as radon or carbon monoxide build up in enclosed spaces that they enter. So how do we clean the air in our homes?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a good approach to reducing indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors. That is, open windows, doors, and vents if weather and air quality conditions permit.
Even if you don't open your windows to the new season, you can refresh your air quality. Minimize allergy triggers and toxins so that your air is clean all over the house. Here's how to fight common air invaders.
Air Invader: Tobacco smoke
Best Defense: Quit smoking! Cleaner air is just one reason. (Your fertility, fetal development , and children's health are all ill-affected by smoke or second-hand smoke. And then there's the expense!) Do it today, or help household members who smoke to quit. At the very least, take it outside—whatever the weather.
Air Invader: Cat dander
Best Defense: If you already suffer from allergies, chances are you're also allergic to cats—even if it doesn't show up in a blood test&mdsh;according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Get kitty a bed of his own (or banish him from the bedroom), and vacuum rugs and upholstery regularly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner.