I've read many places that indoor air may be more polluted than outside air. This isn't surprising to me because I'm very sensitive to smells and really notice the off-gassing of chemicals from anything new I bring into the house (the laptop I'm typing this on being the most recent). That's why this time of year when I start seeing all those articles about sealing up the drafts in your home I kind of cringe – when you do this you're only keeping in all the pollution!
Over the past couple years I've been thinking more about indoor air quality because I've been searching for ways to detox my life. We started with food, getting rid of any non-organic, non-local, prepackaged items. Then moving on to personal care and cleaning products. We have also been replacing items in our home that were made from pressed wood, plastic and other materials. Thankfully we never used non-stick cookware, but I have been replacing my stainless steel with enameled cast iron (even stainless steel can leach baddies in some instances). I've been using VOC free paint and only painting in the summer when I can have the windows open. I also replaced any CFL lightbulbs with incandescent *gasp* I know - but I'm no longer comfortable with the risk of any pollution they cause and I've noticed they also cause sleep issues and headaches for me personally. The FDA and EPA tell us all these toxins and pollutants are within "safe" levels for healthy humans, but I believe that while each individual level might be "OK" they all add up to a toxic overload for our bodies. All the toxins increase our risks for cancer, nervous system problems, lung and breathing issues, headaches, colds and flu, allergies, and all sorts of other health problems.
Since we spend so much time indoors, especially during the winter, it actually doesn't make sense to over insulate your home and seal out all air flow. This traps all the VOC's and other air pollution inside. As a result of all of these things here are some tips I came up with for keeping the air a little safer in your home this winter:
So if you're thinking of sealing up your house against drafts to save money on heating - think again. That exchange of fresh air might just be what's keeping you a little healthier!
Have you ever considered indoor air pollution? Do you do anything specific to keep the indoor air clean and fresh in your home?
I can also be found at Chiot's Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, maple sugaring, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Your Day Magazine, Not Dabbling in Normal, and you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.