Indoor Air Pollution and Its Effect on Your Health

What do you know about indoor air pollution? I never really thought much about it as you may not have either but I found that some people spend 90% of their time indoors. When you hear about pollution you nearly always picture some cars exhaust pipe or a large chimney stack pumping large plumes of black or gray smoke into the sky, but what could we be breathing in from just spending time at home.

Did you know that your furniture and fixings are all giving of dust and gasses as you use them? Take your sitting room for starters… did you know that your sofa is adding to pollution by producing dust from the break down of the fibers in it?… your bed’s also doing the same, the repeated use of the bedding weakens the fibers and they break down to a small enough size for us to breath them in. We’re also constantly breathing in house dust which can be made up of skin cells, molds, bacteria, animal dander, viruses and pollen every day. So what can we do about it?

Bad Indoor Air Pollution

Firstly make sure you house has good ventilation, because some of our homes are so well insulated nowadays, the air doesn’t get replaced enough. (Years ago people didn’t have to worry about this as they had a lot of drafts and openings for the outside air to enter.) Try to open your windows daily to allow some fresh air in to dilute the pollutants. Try not to use air fresheners if you can’t open your windows as these only mask the smells and you end up breathing that in too which can just make things worse.

And secondly as I written before in an earlier article it’s still very important to remember to always breathe through your nose and avoid mouth breathing, because by not doing this you’re bypassing the natural filters in the nose and allowing foreign debris into your airways where it can become an irritant and maybe become a health issue further down the line.

Begin by thinking of your home as a toxic waste dump. The average home today contains 62 toxic chemicals.
More than 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced since WW II. Less than 2% of synthetic chemicals have been tested for toxicity, mutagenic or carcinogenic side-effects, or birth defects. The majority of chemicals have never been tested for long-term effects. An EPA survey concluded that indoor air pollution was 3 to 70 times more than outdoor air pollution.

Another EPA study stated that the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air. The CMHC reports that houses today are so energy efficient that “outgassing” of chemicals have nowhere to go, so it builds up inside the home. We spend 90% of our time indoors, and 65% of our time at home. Mothers, infants, and the elderly spend 90% of their time in the home.

The National Cancer Association released the results of a 15-year study concluding that women who work in the home are at a 54% higher risk of developing cancer than women who work outside the home. Cancer rates have almost doubled since 1960. Cancer is the NUMBER ONE cause of death for children. There has been a 26% increase in breast cancer since 1982. Breast cancer is the NUMBER ONE killer of women between the ages of 35 and 54. The primary suspects are laundry detergents, household cleaners, and pesticides. Bleach is being linked to the rising rates of breast cancer in women, reproductive problems in men, and learning and behavioral problems in children.

Chemicals get into our body through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. We breathe 10 to 20 thousand liters of air per day. There are more than 3 million poisonings every year. Household cleaners are the NUMBER ONE cause of poisoning of children. Since 1980, asthma has increased by 600%. The Canadian Lung Association and Asthma Society of Canada identify common household cleaners and cosmetics as triggers. ADD/ADHD are epidemic in schools today. Behavioral problems have long been linked to exposure to toxic chemicals and molds. Use of Ritalin has sky-rocketed since 1990. Chemical and environmental sensitivities are known to cause all types of headaches.

Labeling laws do not protect the consumer – they protect big business.The New York Poison Control Center reports that 85% of product warning labels were either inadequate or incorrect for identifying a poison, and for first aid instructions. Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene, xylene are found in common household cleaners, cosmetics, beverages, fabrics and cigarette smoke. These chemicals are cancer causing and toxic to the immune system. Chemicals are attracted to, and stored in fatty tissue. The brain is a prime target for these destructive organics because of its high fat content and very rich blood supply.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found more than 2500 chemicals in cosmetics that are toxic and cause tumors, reproductive complications, biological mutations, and skin and eye irritations. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, circulatory disorders, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and hormonal problems are diseases commonly related to chemical exposure. Pesticides only have to include active ingredients on the labels, even though the inert (inactive) ingredients may account for 99%, many of which are toxic and poisons.