10 Tips For A Lung-Healthy Home
Lung Health Ten easy ways to keep the air in your home clean and lung-friendly.
1: Minimize exposure to radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking). It occurs naturally as certain types of soil and rock break down. Hire a contractor to test your home and suggest the best solutions.
2: Use green building materials. Though formaldehyde has been declared a toxic substance in Canada, it is commonly used in foreign-made products such as laminate floors, home insulation, and carpets. Proper ventilation, ultrafine particle air filtration, and home testing are smart strategies to reduce risk.
3: Skip scented candles and air fresheners. They can release highly toxic chemicals. Safer alternatives include using essentials oils in a diffuser, simmering spices such as cinnamon sticks and cloves on the stove, and homemade potpourri.
4: Reduce pesticides in the home. Over time, with regular exposure, the ultrafine particles emitted by pesticides can cause birth defects, nerve damage, and cancer. Switch to low-impact pesticides sourced from natural ingredients like citrus. Seal off entryways, cracks, and crevices.
5: Choose a better kitchen range hood. While it should reduce pollutants, it sometimes does the opposite by recirculating contaminated air. One study showed range hoods captured as little as 14 percent of the pollutants generated by cooking. The problem can be traced back to improper range hoods: not large enough, improper fan, and no exhaust.
6: Tackle mould. Mould flourishes in warm, moist environments. Inspect your home for black or white spots, especially underneath sinks, baseboards, windowsills, and ceilings. Use non-toxic solutions to clean the mould, but most importantly, find the source of the moisture and take steps to eliminate it.
7: Switch to safer cleaning products. Even when sealed, some cleaners can emit toxic and irritating chemicals. Store hazardous products away from living areas or opt for homemade or non-toxic varieties.
8: Keep gas stoves working properly. Have them inspected annually, and if you suspect any problems, call in a professional to service them right away. Some people may not tolerate emissions from gas stoves well, which may mean swapping them for electric models.
9: Change your filters. To reduce particle pollution, replace air filters on central heating and cooling systems annually.
10: Paint smarter. Keep in mind that all household paint releases trace amounts of ultrafine particles that can cause upper respiratory irritation for months after application. Choose paints with no or low VOCs.