Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) – Air Pollution – 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

by deborah on April 16, 2014 · 6 comments

in Environment, Living Green, Living Green

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 8 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) – Air Pollution – 8 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

I am so excited to be participating in Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)  this week.

Each week, Reduce Footprints challenges us to try a new task … or “amp up” something we’re

already doing.

By participating we raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop eco-friendly skills which

will ultimately improve our lives and protect our planet.

Urban Naturale is participating in these challenges along with many others in an effort to change

the world one action at a time and live a lot greener in the process.

Clearly, there’s power in numbers and collective action.

Participating in these challenges together gives us power … the power to Change The World!

This Week’s Challenge: Air Pollution

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Did you know that The World Health Organization cites air pollution as the world’s single biggest

environmental health risk.

In 2012 alone, nearly one in eight deaths (worldwide) were linked to air pollution.

Potentially fatal diseases such as strokes, heart attacks, lung diseases, and cancer have been linked

to air pollution.

Get the picture?

This week’s challenge is to choose meaningful actions designed to reduce air pollution.

I have chosen to focus on several ways to reduce indoor air pollution and improve indoor air quality.

Reducing Indoor Air Pollution & Improving Air Quality

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Depending on your location, indoor air can be just as polluted – if not more so – than outside air.

The problem is the chemical nature of many building materials, to the point that “sick building

syndrome” is a recognized disorder.

Improving the air quality in your home is a good idea, even if you and your family do not have

allergies or obvious symptoms of chemical exposure.

Here are some tips for making sure the air in your home is clean.

#1. Go to the Source

Educate yourself as to the possible pollutants in your home, and then take steps to remove them.

For example, take a good “green” look at your carpets, paints, wallpaper glue, furnishings and

accessories.

#2. Replace Your Carpet

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Your carpet is probably made from synthetic fibers and held in place with chemical adhesives.

It is likely that your carpet is coated with some kind of chemical stain guard as well.

Also, carpets are notorious harbingers of dust, animal hair and dander, and other household allergens.

If possible, take up your synthetic carpet and discover the hardwood beneath, or put down natural rugs

or eco friendly flooring if none exists.

#3. Get Rid of  Wallpaper Glue

Wallpaper glue can cause chemical sensitivity in some individuals.

Using eco-friendly strippers or hot steam, remove the wallpaper and paint with eco-friendly paint

devoid of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and synthetic pigments.

#4. Replace Chemical Cleaners

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Get rid of chemical-based cleaners which are made from substances that can cause respiratory

and skin problems.

Some of these toxic cleaners are potentially fatal if swallowed.

Who needs these poisons around the home?

Use eco-friendly cleaners that you make yourself (baking soda and white vinegar can

meet most cleaning needs), or purchase green cleaners from stores.

#5. Open Your Windows

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

That said, if you live in an area where the outside air is not a problem, open those windows.

To get the best ventilation, open windows across from each other.

This cross-ventilation effect works both within one room and between rooms.

#6. Use Air Purifiers

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Photo source: Honeywell Air Filter

Lately, air purifiers have been competing with open windows for air quality control.

Now, however, there is a compromise: window air purifiers.

If you live in an area where outdoor pollution is significant, or if you suffer from hay fever or

pollen allergies, this may be the answer for you.

Window air purifiers fit into an open window like an exhaust fan or screen.

Outside air comes through them, but it passes through a filter first, giving you the best of

both worlds: fresh air from outside and clean air from a purifier.

#7. Clean Your Filters

Make sure the filters in your heating and cooling system are changed regularly.

Purchase filters that are made to filter out as many chemicals and allergens as possible.

#8. Speaking of Green…

#5. Open Windows     That said, if you live in an area where the outside air is not a problem, open those windows.  To get the best ventilation, open windows across from each other.  This cross-ventilation effect works both within one room and between rooms.

Festoon your home with green, indoor plants.

Plants are nature’s air purifiers, and can be employed in conjunction with open windows.

In fact, indoor plants thrive on fresh, outside air. And when you close your windows,

the plants work all the time to exchange air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, and

formaldehyde for healthy oxygen.

Plant varieties to look for include English ivy, spider plant, peace lily, and various palms.

9. Green Your Shower Curtains

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Have you noticed a certain smell that fills your bathroom when you unwrap a conventional

shower curtain from its package.

Most of us just take that as part of the shower curtain experience, but recent information has

come out regarding the toxic nature of this smell.

It seems that vinyl shower curtains contain some nasty chemicals that release their

vapors into the air: PVC.

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is used in the making of soft vinyl-like shower curtains.

PVC contains dioxin, phthalates, and chlorine.

Dioxin is a carcinogen and is given off when PVC burns or gets hot (how showers, anyone?).

It is particularly implicated in breast cancer.

The phthalates in PVC include DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate) and BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate),

and they are used to keep the plastic soft when it’s made.

Phthalates are implicated in autism, allergies, and reproductive problems (they mimic human

hormones).

And finally, the chlorine used to make PVC emits toxic vapors.

So what is a shower-lover to do?

Do your homework and replace your vinyl shower curtains with eco-friendly, non-toxic

shower curtains made from hemp, bamboo, linen, organic cotton or make your own

non-toxic shower curtains.

Now that’s really something to “sing in the shower” about!

Of course , we know that there are many more items in our homes that pollute the environment

and contribute to poor indoor air quality.

I have simply focused on several key changes that make a big difference in indoor air quality.

Now, take a deep breath and enjoy the clean air!

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Air Pollution - 9 Green & Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

What are you doing to reduce air pollution and to improve the indoor air

quality in your home?

Share your tips, experiences and suggestions with us.

“Shared on Fabulously Frugal Thursday”

“Shared at Waste Not Want Not Wednesday”

“Shared at Natural Living Monday”

“Shared on Simply Natural Saturdays”

“Shared on Mostly Homemade Mondays”

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Small Footprints April 16, 2014 at 9:59 am

I love your ideas!! The shower curtain is a big one … and so easy to correct. Before I was “green”, I’d buy those cheap curtains and when I’d take them out of the package, I’d get a HUGE headache. I never got the connection. In fact, I really didn’t get the connection between cleaning solutions, air “fresheners”, and my health. Since giving up all those toxic materials, I don’t get headaches and my overall health has been better. And, I’m confident that I’m not polluting the air … or the environment. :-)

Reply

deborah April 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

Hi Cyndi,
Thank you so much! That’s what is so wonderful about Change the World Wednesday! It really helps us to examine ways that we can make small changes that add up!

Reply

Kelli @ The Sustainable Couple April 27, 2014 at 11:35 am

Thanks for sharing on Mostly Homemade Mondays! I hope you join us again next week :)

Kelli @ The Sustainable Couple

Reply

Amanda April 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm

These are some great tips to reduce air pollution! We love to purify the air in our home with plants and air filters. We also don’t have carpet which helps a lot with our indoor air quality. Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

Reply

deborah April 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Hi Amanda,
Wow! Your home sounds so green and healthy! I always love participating in Natural Living Monday!

Reply

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