Spring is in the air. But do you know what else is in the air? Pollutants, and lots of them. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, studies have found that indoor air can be up to 100 times more toxic and polluted than outdoor air. This can lead to long-lasting health effects, including a compromised immune system. Below, we’ll outline the surprising ways you’re adding toxins to your home’s environment, plus what you can do today to spring-clean and detox your indoor air.
The Health Effects of Toxic Indoor Air
Indoor air that’s polluted with dust, pollen, toxic chemicals and other pollutants leads to coughing, eye irritation headaches, allergies, and can even weaken your overall immune system.
“Air pollution alters immune function,” explains UC-Berkeley. “While air pollution is known to be a source of immediate inflammation, this new study provides one of the first pieces of direct evidence that explains how some ambient air pollutants could have long-term effects.” The university points out that people who are exposed to air pollution have suppressed T-cells in their immune system.
Why Your Indoor Air is So Toxic
Many people are surprised to learn that indoor air tends to be more toxic and polluted than outside air. The reason for elevated levels of pollutants include:
- Poor ventilation
- Toxins and particulate matter released by your furniture and other furnishings
- Toxins emitted from household products like cleaning supplies, air fresheners, etc.
- Household activity, such as fur from pets or dander from humans
Some of the main toxin-adding culprits that you may not realize are so harmful include:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by carpet fabrics, treated wood in your couch, etc.
- Fumes created when you use nonstick cooking ware.
- Chemicals emitted by your fireplace, air conditioner, gas stove and other household appliances.
Even seemingly innocuous things in your home can contribute to poor air quality. “The scariest thing in this house is probably the toaster,” a researcher told the New Yorker. The researcher and her team were measuring how many compounds day-to-day household activities created. “I just had no idea that toasters emitted so many particles.”
How to Detox Your Indoor Air
1. Open a Window
If your home or room gets too little outdoor air, the levels of VOCs and other pollutants build up to increasingly harmful levels. Open a window to let in some fresh air, and keep air circulating throughout different rooms using fans. Better yet, consider whole-house ventilation systems to keep the air moving.
2. Identify and Remove Common Culprits
“Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions,” reports the EPA. “In many cases, source control is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs.”
Ways to minimize pollution generation within your home include:
- Switching to all-natural, organic, nontoxic cleaning supplies, including bathroom cleaners, laundry detergent, etc.
- Focusing on paints and similar products that have a low-VOC rating when doing home improvement projects.
- Buying furniture that’s made from real hardwood (furnishings made from composite wood tend to have much higher VOC emissions).
- Avoiding household products that contain scents, such as scented candles or room perfuming sprays.
3. Clean Your Home Weekly
Several household cleaning tips won’t just leave your home sparkling, but will also improve your indoor air quality. Put in a little elbow grease and:
- Use a damp cloth and wipe down hard surfaces, such as tabletops and windowsills, to remove dust (avoid dusting, as that simply disturbs the dust and spreads it through the air).
- Change and wash bedding, throw pillows, rugs, etc. once a week.
- Vacuum your whole home at least once a week.
- Clean surfaces that may be prone to mold growth, including bathtubs and toilets.
4. Run an Air Purifier
Run an air purifier that’s rated for your room’s square footage. For the best results, use a HEPA model with a carbon filter, which is able to detox your indoor air by trapping and eliminating all air pollutants, including scents and some bacteria and viruses!
5. Grow a Houseplant
Bring a touch of nature indoors and sprinkle some houseplants around your living spaces, including your bathroom.
“NASA and other organizations have conducted studies that show the rise of many indoor volatile organic compounds promote asthma, nausea, cancer, and various respiratory illnesses,” reports Columbia University. “Equally important in these studies is the finding that certain indoor plants can dramatically remove indoor air pollutants. Some of these plants that NASA recommends include areca palm or butterfly palm, snake plant, and money plant or devil’s ivy.”
As a bonus, studies show that houseplants and being immersed in nature helps reduce stress and boost your mood (which improves your immune system health, too). And they’ll also help oxygenate your house.
Finally, don’t forget to support your immune system throughout this whole process. As noted above, poor air quality suppresses your immune system’s T-cells. Give your immune system what it needs with BioPro-Plus 500. This 100% natural immune system supplement is clinically proven to increase your T-cell counts as an aid to restore your body’s own natural immune response.
Learn More About How to Detox Your Indoor Air: