Environmental concerns are at the forefront of todays major news issues and most of us have already been trying to clean up by recycling, using public transport, and opting for reusable bottles, cups, and straws. But what about air pollution? It’s a little-known fact that the air outside and the air in your home are almost identical. That means that the pollutants from outside are also present in our homes and worlplaces. Here, we’ve teamed up with Daikin, who supply gas combi boilers, to explore the science behind air purification:
What causes poor air quality at home?
We can start by exploring some of the major causes of poor air quality at home. An article by the British Lung Foundation noted that ventilation, temperature, damp, cooking, smoking, pets, cleaning products, and pollution from outside all build up within our homes. It’s worth opening the windows of your home for at least a little time every day, especially when you’re cooking. Check your home for damp too — this can cause myriad health problems, so you’ll want to treat it as soon as possible if found.
As popular as they may be, you’ll have to ditch the scented candles if you want cleaner air in your home. The chemicals used to perfume candles for their scent can contain harmful substances like benzene and toluene. The same goes for air fresheners, regardless of if they are spray or plug-in. The fresh scent is achieved by chemicals, which you let into your home when you use them, so if you’re looking to freshen up, best stick to opening the windows and cleaning the home with natural products.
Spray bottles of cleaning products can also be harmful, as they dispense chemicals into the air every time you use them. It’s better to opt for liquid cleaners that you can pour as much as you need. Consider other sprays too (deodorant, hair spray, etc) and only use them in well-ventilated areas.
Pollution and health
Pollution in the home can lead to many adverse health effects. Also known as Toxic House Syndrome, the NHS have listed some potential causes for symptoms of this little-known ailment. Dust, smoke, bad ventilation, and inadequately maintained air conditioning units are all cited as potentially contributing towards the problem.
According to the WHO, the following risks are associated with toxic air in the home:
- Ischaemic heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Lung cancer
Though the impact of toxic household air is more apparent in poor and low-income countries, who still use solid fuels like wood, waste, and charcoal, more developed countries are still adding to their indoor pollutants.
Clean air: What steps to we need to take?
You’re now clued-up on some of the smaller changes you can make to improve the air quality in your home. But you still need a way to freshen up your home without having the windows open all the time, right? Luckily, there are loads of natural air fresheners you can make, and they’re very easy to create. The Natural Penguin offers loads of great ideas — we’re particularly fond of the oil-scented wood blocks, they’re simple and would look boho-chic in a glass bowl mixed with some dried flowers or glass pebbles.
Plants are a cheap and effective option for improving air quality. NASA has even conducted a study of the best air-purifying plants out there; try some aloe vera in the bedroom, or a spider plant in the kitchen! Ask your employer if it’s possible to bring some greenery into the office too.
It’s also a good idea to take a look at air purification systems. These powerful systems actively filter the air you breathe, capturing any harmful particles or pollutants and keeping the air as fresh as possible. Air purifiers can help lower allergy and asthma symptoms, as well as reduce the number of bacteria in the air you breathe. They’re also a great way to neutralise odours without resorting to harmful air fresheners.