Make your home less of a health hazard

These tips aren’t medical; they’re environmental. What’s in your house, condo or apartment can impact how healthy you feel.

Essential indoor air quality

Energy-efficient home building codes can have a big impact by keeping air (and pollutants) locked inside.

“WWYW coined the term Tight Box Syndrome to describe the ventilation issue,” says Cooke. Harmful toxins are in products like paint, furniture finishes, carpeting, flooring, mattresses and even appliances and TVs, she adds. Cleaning products, pesticides and synthetic air fresheners can also adversely affect indoor air quality.

Kitchens and baths

Both of these well-used spaces can create IAQ issues, Cooke and Kreuzinger agree. And both require excellent ventilation systems. In the kitchen, “Recirculating hoods do not remove enough contaminants from the air,” WWYW’s founder advises. Not cleaning them regularly is another problem. “I personally think the solution is as simple as using a hood that supports disposable wool filters. They are compostable and are a natural fire retardant,” Cooke says. They are also easy to change and maintain, she adds. (If you’re not purchasing a new vent hood for your kitchen, check with the manufacturer or appliance instructions to make sure the one currently installed will work properly with disposable wool filters before purchasing them.)

Sleeping areas

“Allergens in bedrooms have the greatest effect on allergies because of the amount of time one tends to spend there,” the doctor says. “The most common indoor allergens are dust mites, pets and molds. Dust mites are very prevalent in beds, so we recommend covering mattresses, box springs and pillows with special casings and washing all bedding in hot water every two weeks.”

“Natural bedding made of cotton, linen, hemp or bamboo should be considered for comfort,” Cooke says. “Mattresses made of quilted or tufted all-natural materials including wool and cotton batting should be your first choice in achieving a healthy bedroom.” The others can include toxins, she says, and should be stored in a garage during their off-gassing period.

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