Sick Building – Sick Home

September 21, 2011

Think about how many hours in a day your home is locked up without fresh air. Worse yet, what is the quality of the air outside your home that could also pose a health hazard to your family? If you live downwind from an agricultural field, you and your family might be at risk for air pollution from pesticide and herbicides from commercial farming or the efforts of your neighbors to abate their weeds via chemical means. If you live in an apartment complex, do your windows open toward that beautiful poolside view where you can get a constant stream of chlorine exposure? Do your windows open toward air coming from a freeway? Do not discount the pollutant effects of these sources of air exposure. They have been implicated in conditions such as:

  • multiple chemical sensitivities
  • cystitis
  • asthma
  • brain fog
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • chronic fatigue
  • burning eyes
  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  •  dry eyes
  • dry nose
  • dry throat

from lead, black mold, radon and asbestos. However, absent these red flags, what goes undetected is the cumulative chemical exposures caused by the type of cleaning fluids and insecticides you use, the amount of dust and dander in your home from your shedding skin and those of your pets, the fumes emitted from

  • carpets
  • drapes
  • flooring
  •  paint
  •  radiation from microwaves, TV, computers, cell phones, wi-fi
  • wood products in furnishings
  • wood paneling
  • flooring
  • fireplace usage
  • gas fireplace usage
  • the unseen excretions of roaches in walls and crevices
  • and the degree of moisture in the home that promotes the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast, and viruses.

What can you do? Replace chemical cleaners with green cleaning agents that are made from natural compounds such as those from orange oil or are enzyme based and have no perfumes! This includes the use of laundry detergent that is perfume free. This means you must give up the perception that your clothes smell clean because you have become accustomed to the chemical smell of the scent put in your dryer sheets and detergent to give you the “false” perception that your clothes are clean. Clean clothes do not have a smell! Clean clothes should not smell perfumed as the scent you are smelling is a chemical, a chemical pollutant! Stack your clothes in the house and your clothes off gas this chemical contributing to many an asthma, ADD, headache or migraine case and adding one more layer of pollution your body has to cleanse itself from its respiratory system. Don’t be brainwashed by these advertisers as to what they want to sell you that cleans means! Many a neighbor can smell your “perfumed” clothes tumbling in the dryer a house or two away, speak of pollution! In fact in foreign countries, it has been said they know an American by how their clothes smell….perfumed from those dryer sheets and scented laundry products!

Improve ventilation in your home. Change your air filters from heating systems regularly, and check the water quality in air conditioner systems, which can grow and release bacteria, yeast and mold into your home. Safety is a concern, therefore, don’t leave your front door open even with a locked screen door as it is too easy to invite break ins while you are home. However, find windows that you can open while you are home that allow cross ventilation for air to come in and exit daily. Simply moving the closed air in your home with a fan is not ventilation! You need to have fresh air daily to allow the chemical fumes contained in your home to escape and fresh oxygenated air to enter your home.

Grow plants that are known to remove formaldehyde, compounds found in the air coming from carpet, wood, plastics and chemicals in your home. Many studies have been and continue to be done to determine the best plants that help improve your indoor home air. Top performers are: Japanese royal fern (Osmunda japonica), geranium (pelargonium), spider fern (Pteris dispar, pteris multifida), areca palm (chrysalidocarpus lutescens), lady palm (rhapis excelsa), bamboo palm (chamaedorea seifrizii), the rubber plant (ficus robusta), the dracena (dracaena deremensis), the philodendron, a date palm (phoenix roebelenii), a ficus (ficus alii), boston fern, or peace lily (spathiphyllum). Many of these plants are easy to care for and require minimum care. (American Society for Horticultural Science (AHS). Study of phytoremediation benefits of 86 indoor plants published. June 23, 2011.

Detoxification of Formaldehyde by the Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum L.) and by Soybean (Glycine max L.) Cell-Suspension Cultures. Plant Physiol. 1994 Apr;104(4):1301-1309.)

These few changes will have a significant impact on the air quality of your home. It will reduce the toxic load your body has to deal with in our already very toxic world, and bring down a notch, the level of inflammation your body needs to address from a daily exposure of toxic accumulation.

Please note:
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan