Do you suffer from fatigue, headache, dry and burning eye, allergies, nose and throat irritation, dizziness or even memory issues? These are all symptoms that there may be harmful toxins in your home - toxins such as VOCs (Volatile organic compounds found in lacquers, paint primers, cleaning supplies, home furnishings, synthetic textiles, home fragrances and even the products we use on our bodies and faces), Formaldehydes, mold and mildew, combustion gasses, stored pesticides, and endocrine disruptors, including lead, atrazine from pesticides and herbicides, fire retardants, arsenic and mercury, found in many household items.
There is good news: the more aware we are of what we bring into our homes, the more we can do to create a healthier environment for ourselves and our families. We can all make responsible decisions to minimize the toxic burden and improve our overall heath.
This summer, I am getting WWYW (Wellness Within Your Walls - wellnesswithinyourwalls.com) certified. While I prepare and study, I thought I would share just a little of what I have learned:
Here are five easy ways to immediately detoxify and improve the indoor air quality of your home:
1. Off-Gas Your Home Furnishings
If you buy a new piece of furniture and it has a funny smell, chances are it is still emitting toxic fumes. Off-gas your home furnishings before your bring them into your home. If you buy a new product and it has a funny smell, it needs to be aired out. Smell=toxin potential. If you are not able to find a place or don't have space to off-gas on a porch, patio, garage or spare room, open your windows and doors. Off-gas a minimum of one week and more if there is still a strong odor to your furnishings.
2. Use Natural Textiles - Upholstery, Carpets, Window Treatments, Bedding
Textiles and carpets may contain a wide range of chemicals that release hazardous toxins. Avoid polyester, acrylic, acetate, nylon and anything labeled stain resistant. Use wool, sisal, sea grass, cotton, silk, jute, linen, alpaca and abaca when possible. Many of my clients want "child proof/pet-friendly" fabrics and carpets but the reality is that carpet stains are much easier to get out of wool than nylon or viscose.
3. Use low VOC paints
Not to worry. Most reputable paint companies like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and Farrow and Ball only produce low VOC paint these days. You may want to look at EOS paints: they are non-toxic, zero VOC, ingredient transparent and free of harsh chemicals. eospaints.net
4. Substitute Cleaning Products
Use non-chlorine bleach and organic laundry detergent products like LeBlanc Linen Wash
Use silicone or wool dryer tumbling balls instead of dryer sheets
Use non-toxic, organic lawn fertilizers
Method cleaning products are natural, sustainable and consider the long term implications of their products for generations living now and those in the future. This is called cradle to cradle thinking and it is the foundation for every product they make. You can buy Method products at Target, CVS, Rite Aid and other drug stores.
5. If you must use chemicals store in a detached space and please, take unused chemicals to a hazardous waste recycling facility.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but these five things are easy steps that could improve your health and quality of life without costing you a fortune. Remember, when you thrive, so does your family and the larger community.
Stay healthy! Become healthy!