Friday, May 15, 2009

29 ways to help your family breathe easier

1. Use untreated bedding. Permanent press and other treated sheets contain formaldehyde that's emitted and inhales while kids sleep. Don't by flame-resistant pajamas or other textiles.

2. Wash bedding at least once a week and keep bedroom humidity below 50%. Both steps help reduce or eliminate dust mite allergens.

3.  If you use candles, use only non-petroleum candles with cloth wicks and natural essential oil scents. Synthetically scented paraffin and other synthetic wax candles emit unhealthy fumes and soot when burned. Make sure any wick you light does not contain a thin metal strand to help it stand upright. Such wicks emit zinc and tin when burned.

4. Use only natural cosmetic and personal care products, and avoid synthetic scents and perfumes. When your children hug and hang out with you, make sure all they pic up is affection and attention.

5.  Keep particleboard and other pressed composite woods products out of your home. These building materials are made with glues and other chemicals that give off dangerous fumes as they age, including toxic formaldehyde. Buy solid wood furnishings and construction supplies to keep this key component of unhealthy indoor air way. If cost is a factor, use plywood, which doesn't out gas as much, instead of particleboard or fiberboard.

6. Let fresh air into your home frequently even in winter. A good healthy air exchange is worth more than any warmed or cooled air you'll replace and is the best way to rinse out any unhealthy pollutants that have accumulated. Let kids sleep with a window open as much as possible. Buy a dowel and cut it to a specific size that will only allow the window to open up 1 inch. 

7.  At school, request that bus drivers turn off their engines while they wait for classes to get out. Buses emit a wide variety of unhealthy particulates and other air pollutants, amounts of which quickly rise to dangerous levels whenever they idle in one place. Also inquire about your school's pesticide policy. Most schools apply these poisons with no prior notification. Insist that you be told when and where your local school is using.

8.  Avoid indoor pools treated with chlorine. Choose those pools that use ozoneation,UV light, or biguanide, which is a non-toxic chemical alternative most commonly marketed under the name Biquacil.

9.  If you get new carpet installed that isnt made of natural materials, air it out throughly before installation. Carpeting can contain a wide variety of chemical compounds that out gas. Leaving it unrolled or at least loosely rolled in the garage for a week or two before installation will reduce these levels of emitted hazardous gasses. Similarly, refuse any carpet treated with stain repellents, mildew treatments, or other chemicals. Don't install carpets with adhesives. And once they're installed, keep fresh air circulating through the room for a few months.

10. use safe non-toxic cleaning products. The hazardous fumes and airborne aerosols created by synthetic chemical cleaners are on of the biggest sources of dangerous air pollution inside an average home.

11. Have furnaces, water heaters, and any other combustible devises in your home inspected and serviced annually to make sure emissions aren't escaping into your living spaces. Vent gas ranges to the outside. And never use kerosene or other portable combustion-type heaters.

12.  Use only safe and natural arts and crafts supplies. Avoid products that give off fumes, like many permanent ink markers, rubber cement, paints, etc. Use only those products you've verified are safe.

13. Don't use pesticides or any chemical flea or tick preparations for pets, including flea collars, shampoo's, or treatments. Researchers have documented clear links between pesticide products and childhood leukemia.

14.  Grow a lot of plants. House plants act as natural air filters that remove pollutants and keep indoor atmospheres cleaner. 

15. If you smoke, stop immediately. Forget smoking in your house or even on its grounds.  

16. Change air filters regularly. 

17. If you have a gas range make sure the flames are blue (an indication of complete combustion.) Orange flames should be adjusted.

18.  Never use a gas range as a heat source.

19. When purchasing a new gas range, never purchase one with a pilot light.

20. Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected annually

21. Test for radon.

22. Ventilate bathrooms well and often.

23.  To reduce or prevent mold and mildew, wipe fixtures and walls clean frequently.  Keep them as moisture free as possible.

24. Do not use hairspray. 

25.  Groom pets regularly and outdoors if possible. 

26. Use a HEPA vacuum or one that offers enhanced filtration of its exhaust.

27.  Do not use pesticides ever.

28.  Keep paints solvents, strippers, and other chemical products in a well ventilated area away from the main home. 

29. Do not leave your vehicle running in the garage ever. 

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